Robin Williams, the beloved actor and comedian, lived to make people laugh. He has the instinctive capacity to connect with people on a deeper level both on and off-camera, thanks to his strong energy and exceptional aptitude for capturing the depth of every feeling. Surprisingly, this gift extended beyond the human race.
The Gorilla Foundation in California asked Williams to see Koko, a gorilla who communicates with her human handlers using American Sign Language, in the hope that the encounter might cheer up the animal. Koko had just lost her dearest buddy, Michael, a gorilla she had known since childhood. They had no idea that Williams would permanently alter Koko’s life.
Koko takes Williams’ hand and leads him to a seat on the floor next to her. She then examines the actor, smelling his hand and takes off his spectacles, which she skillfully puts on.
Koko gets up to Williams immediately, signing asking him to “tickle” her, which was one of her favourite hobbies before her companion died. Williams, of course, obliges, tickling the 280-pound gorilla as if he were a kid. Koko then did something for the first time in six months.
Koko’s handlers were taken aback. Williams accomplished in minutes what they had been attempting for months.
Williams was correct when he said the experience was “unforgettable.” Once Williams died in 2014, his influence on the gorilla’s life was clear. When Koko learned of his death, she was devastated. She then signed “cry” to communicate her feelings.
Koko recalled her experience with Williams after more than a decade. She was so moved by the actor that she regarded him a personal friend and mourned his passing.
Williams’ demeanour was so endearing and genuine that its repercussions extended all the way to the animal realm. He really cared about individuals suffering from existential misery, and he spent the remainder of his life spreading joy to others.
Robin Williams left an unrivalled impact that is still felt across generations. His biggest aim was to provide pleasure and amusement to everyone, and he surely achieved, as Koko said.