'A humble, decent dude': People share stories of Luke Perry's random acts of kindness

The actor was always ready to help strangers in need.

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/ Source: TODAY
By Scott Stump

Luke Perry will always be remembered for playing the iconic Dylan McKay on "Beverly Hills, 90210," but the way he treated people when the cameras weren't rolling may be his most enduring legacy.

Perry couldn't have been further from the brooding Dylan in real life, as people have been sharing stories of his random acts of humility and kindness since his death at 52 on Monday after suffering a massive stroke.

From calming crying babies on airplanes to helping elderly neighbors change light bulbs, Perry was always looking to lend a hand to those in need.

Actor Colin Hanks only met Perry once, but it was a memorable encounter on a flight back from Mexico. An exasperated mother and father were trying to get their two young boys to stop fighting each other when a stranger walked back from first class.

"Hat, beard, sunglasses, blowing up a balloon,'' Hanks wrote. "He ties it off, hands it off like he's holding out a sword to a king. Kneeling, Head down, arms up. Kids calm down in milliseconds."

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"Plane damn near bursts into applause. 15 minutes longer and it probably would have started WWIII, but we landed before that could happen."

After disembarking the plane, Hanks noticed that the kind stranger was Perry, who complimented Hanks' acting on the show "Fargo" and then told him that he always came prepared to soothe unruly kids on planes.

"I start singing his praises about how long I've admired him and also about the move with the balloon. 'That's a pro move! You can't teach that!' I say. He tells me he always flies with a couple of balloons for that very reason, to give to screaming kids. Don't know if that's true, but have no reason to believe it wasn't. Guy seemed like a true gent. Gone way too damn soon. Also, I'll be damned if I don't start traveling with some spare balloons."

Filmmaker Josh Raby recalled a time when Perry lent a hand in 2010 during devastating flooding in Tennessee, where Perry owned land.

"He was out there bringing people food, bottles of water, and shoes. Just a humble, decent dude,'' he wrote.

Michael O'Neil, a former staffer for President Obama, tweeted about Perry having "zero ego" when Perry helped campaign for Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown in 2006.

Often Perry was remembered just for taking the time to help make a stranger's day a little better.

Actress Alexandra Daddario remembered his kindness to her when she was working in a restaurant trying to establish her career, writing, "he was always so kind to me and friendly in an industry where most people would just dismiss me."

Actress Gabrielle Union also remembered Perry indulging her and her friend Kimora Lee Simmons when they sat near him on a flight and peppered him with "90210" questions.

"He was the perfect gentleman & heartthrob,'' she wrote. "He was kind when he probably just wanted to sleep. And he switched seats so we could sit together."

Comedy writer Eva Anderson tweeted that Perry was a neighbor of her grandfather and aunt and often helped them with household chores. "Luke Perry was a truly lovely next-door neighbor to my grandfather and aunt. Like, he came over to replace light bulbs all the time."

Film critic Amy Nicholson also remembered Perry's simple kindness to Anderson's family. "This is how I'll remember him, too. At your grandpa's birthday being the really nice neighbor who helped with the trash cans."

Tributes also poured in from his heartbroken "90210" co-stars, remembering him as a "smart, quiet, humble and complex man."

Perry will truly be missed.