SANTA BARBARA (CBSLA.com) — Paul Walker was best known for his movies and fast cars, but a former Santa Barbara jewelry store clerk will remember him most for his generosity.
Several years ago during the holiday season, Irene King says, an associate nudged her and said, “There’s Paul Walker.”
“Oh, OK, yeah,” King said with a smile. “I said, ‘Yeah, he’s a nice-looking man.’”
“The Fast and the Furious” star was shopping in the store at the same time as a soldier who had just finished up his first tour of duty in Iraq. The soldier was heading overseas again and was shopping with his fiancee, looking at engagement rings.
“She saw something that she really, really liked, but he said, ‘Honey, I can’t afford that,’” King said.
That “something” was a $10,000 engagement set, King said. Walker had overheard the conversation.
“He called the manager and he said, ‘Umm, the ring that those people are looking at – put it on my tab,’” King remembered. “Soon after that, he just left.”
When the couple asked whom to thank, the store said it was an anonymous gift.
King and the jewelry store’s employees kept the secret for more than a decade. But with Walker’s death, they want the world to know of his generosity.
King’s son retold the story on his Facebook page after news spread of Walker’s death.
“To do something like that to a perfect stranger is just unbelievable,” King said.