DALLAS (GANNETT AFFILIATE) — What Robin Williams gave all of us was decades of gut-busting laughter. But for a special few, he gave something more — proving the true depths of his heart.
Mark Cole of Fairfield, Texas and his family are among the lucky ones. Williams brought them joy when they needed it most in 2004. They were living in North Carolina, and his daughter Jessica was losing her battle with a brain tumor.
"Maybe six or eight weeks before that, Make-A-Wish approached us and wanted to know what Jessica's wish was," Cole said.
There was one thing that would put a smile on her face over those tough years — the film portraying a cross-dressing dad turned nanny. She wanted to meet the man who brought that character to life.
"Jessica absolutely loved Mrs. Doubtfire," said Cole. "She had it memorized. She must have watched it way over 100 times."
But in those final weeks, Jessica was too ill to travel to California. It wasn't a problem for Williams; he chartered a private jet and flew to her.
"He was doing his Mrs. Doubtfire impersonations, and other than that my daughter showed him how to play her favorite card game which was Secret 7, and she did a good job of beating him," her dad said.
There was no publicity, just immediate family, for what became a treasured memory. Jessica died two weeks after Williams' visit.
"To come and spend the day with her, fly all across the country at his expense. She had such a great time. It was such a wonderful memory," he said.
The death of Robin Williams brings Cole back to that most painful year. But he's choosing to focus as much as he can on the happy moments that made his daughter — and countless others — laugh.