Let’s not mince words: This year was kinda depressing. We’ve had more than our fill of North Korea and natural disasters. We’ve seen so many shocking mass shootings that we’re not shocked by them anymore. Lots of us are ready to tell 2017 goodbye … and good riddance.
We sometimes turn to Hollywood to provide a little respite from the world’s troubles: A fun action movie, maybe, or an engrossing television show. This year, given all the sexual harassment scandals coming out of the entertainment industry, it was a little more difficult. Some of our favorite stars fell. Some popular entertainment was tarnished.
But if you look deeper than the Harvey Weinstein and Kevin Spacey headlines, you’ll find that Hollywood did give us some stories to smile about — real stories involving real people who, by the way, just happen to be famous.
Soon, Twitter was awash in positivity: One talked about how Danny DeVito and Rhea Perlman “let me stay with them when my mom was in the hospital for cancer surgeries.” Another talked about how Brad Pitt bought tractors for some poor African farmers and “asked to be anonymous.” Still another mentioned that the late comedian/actor Robin Williams noticed her crying in a cafe one day over the death of her mother. He paid the woman’s check and whispered words of encouragement in her ear before he left.
These stories, of course, could’ve taken place years earlier. But I realized that these sorts of positive celebrity tales actually happen all the time. Sometimes we’re just too wrapped up in our own worries and rage to notice.
Take the devastation wrought by Hurricane Harvey in and around Houston, Texas. Certainly the flooding was a heartbreaking tragedy for many. But in the midst of the devastation, countless people donated to relief and recovery efforts, and (as I wrote here before) celebrities led the way. J.J. Watt, an NFL defensive end who plays for the Houston Texans, helped raise — get this — more than $37 million for relief efforts, thanks to the more than 209,000 individual donors who chipped in a little bit to help. Many fellow NFL stars and other celebs stuck their hands deep in their pockets to aid Watts’ efforts.