Thus began a series of events, starting with a request on Reddit. Dan's wife wrote a post on there as a message to J.J. Abrams, co-writer and director of Star Trek Into Darkness, requesting the opportunity to at least see the prologue in a private screening since Dan isn't expected to live long enough before the film's theatrical release in May. From there, the post went viral, and a massive campaign exploded from petitioners online asking Abrams to give this fan a chance to see what he had missed.
I was pulling hard that Dan would get his wish. It's heartbreaking that he is living his final days filled with doctor's appointments and pain, so seeing the prologue would at least bring one final smile to his face. What a great way to kick off 2013 if Abrams gave this fan his dying wish.
Except JJ Abrams didn't do that. No, he had something far better in store for Dan.
Dan and his wife got to see the entire working print of Star Trek Into Darkness.
The film isn't quite finished; there are visual effects and some edits to complete, and the musical score is probably only a temp track right now. But they got to see the entire film as it stands. I'm sure they are eternally grateful for such an opportunity. I know if I were in Dan's shoes, I'd feel saying "Thank you" would be incredibly inadequate for something like that.
Last week I watched Ray Lewis' A Football Life on the NFL Network. The program had been previously scheduled, but the timing worked out in a way since he had announced earlier in the day that he was going to retire following the end of the Ravens' season. The footage was shot during the 2011 season, right up to the game against the Patriots in the AFC Championship Game.
Early in the program there was a story about Bill Warble, a huge Ravens fan in Dundalk, an area just outside downtown Baltimore. Warble is in his 60s, suffering from terminal cancer with only months to live, but his dream was to meet Ray Lewis in person. Lewis actually came to his house and met his entire family. The video below includes their meeting; Warble's story starts at about the 7:34 mark:
Later on, there's a conversation between Lewis and Warble's daughter. She was in tears from being so grateful for Lewis to come to her dad's house and fulfill his dream. Throughout the 2011 season, Lewis built a friendship with Warble and his family. That's genuine heart and love there. Lewis gave this man a gift that he had carried up until he finally passed after the season had ended. Even more so, the man's family will carry that gift on with them for the rest of their lives.
Generosity like either of these examples gives me hope that there are still people out there who enjoy doing the right thing. They don't care about personal gain or interest; they know certain actions will make a difference in another person's life, and that kind of reward doesn't come with a price tag. Ray Lewis has made his own mission of speaking publicly about his criminal past and the impact it's left on his life. His life is completely changed for the better, and he now passes that on to anyone else who wants to listen.
J.J. Abrams could have simply given what Dan and his wife had asked for, and they would have been just as grateful as they are now. Ray Lewis could have stopped by the Warble house once, and that would have been exactly what they had asked for. Instead, both men did far more than what was expected of them, and that's what the rest of us can take from those stories. It's one thing to do what someone asks or expects; it's another to exceed those expectations and truly touch someone's life.
I ended up spending a few days putting this post together, and this morning I happened to see a headline that Dan - the terminally ill fan who was allowed to see the entire working print of Star Trek Into Darkness - passed away over the weekend. While I'm sure his wife and family are grieving over his passing, I would hope the brief joy he had in watching the film ended his life with a positive note.
I've written a number of posts on this blog about odd ball news stories and the like, and while these two stories are rather bittersweet in nature, they share the same positive theme of hope and joy. The news tends to focus on pretty negative stories for the most part, whether they be the fiscal cliff, murders, or scandals of some kind. Why news outlets don't find stories like Dan's interesting or worth reporting I'll never know exactly, but it's a real shame we don't get enough good news in life. I hope 2013 gives us plenty more good stories like these.