For more than a decade, the staff of a California jewelry store has kept a secret about an actor with a heart of gold, who anonymously purchased a $10,000 engagement ring for an Iraq War combat veteran and his bride-to-be.
In the aftermath of the tragic death of “Fast & Furious” star Paul Walker on Saturday, former sales associate Irene King has come forward to share the details of his selfless act of kindness and quiet generosity.
King told CBS Los Angeles that Walker was doing some holiday shopping in her Santa Barbara jewelry store at the same time a soldier and his girlfriend were looking at engagement rings. The soldier, who had just completed his first tour of duty in Iraq, was hoping to purchase the ring before heading out for a second tour.
King said the girlfriend finally spotted a bridal set that she really, really liked, but the $10,000 price tag was way over their budget.
“Honey, I can’t afford that,” the soldier told his girlfriend. Without hesitation, the blue-eyed action star, who was within earshot of the couple, found the manager and asked that the bridal set be put on his tab. According to King, he insisted that the purchase remain anonymous, and then he left the store quietly.
Respecting the actor’s wishes, the staff kept mum when the young couple asked who had purchased the jewelry for them. The story had been kept under wraps for more than 10 years.
"To do something like that for a perfect stranger is just unbelievable," King told CBS Los Angeles.
King’s story drew media attention after she posted the anecdote on the 40-year-old actor’s Facebook page.
During his life, Walker was active in many charitable organizations, including Reach Out Worldwide, which he founded in 2010 to assist Haiti’s earthquake victims, and to send first responders to the front lines of other natural disasters.