Celebrities need compassion too.

It’s easy to think that celebrities have it all together. So often, we see them living their best lives with lots of cash and fame, not to mention exclusive access to things many of us could only dream of.

But celebrities are people too, with real feelings and emotions. Basketball superstar Shaquille O’Neal is no exception, so he was particularly grateful one day when fans approached him with compassion.

A Celebrity Sighting

man standing with Shaquille O'Neal

A man named Patrick Martin received the shock of a lifetime one day when he was shopping at a Best Buy store in McDonough, Georgia. As he was looking at the laptops and figuring out which one he should purchase, he saw Shaquille O’Neal in the store.

While many people would probably rush the Basketball Hall of Famer and ask for a selfie and gush about their fandom, Martin knew the celebrity had suffered through a rough year.

So instead, he approached the man and offered his condolences on the loss of Kobe Bryant and O’Neal’s sister, Ayesha Harrison-Jex, who had recently passed away from cancer.

After the exchange, Martin and his friend returned to the laptop section and went about their business.

An Unexpected Gesture

As Martin was looking at the laptops, he got another surprise: Shaq had come up behind them. As it turns out, the former Lakers player was so moved by the man’s compassion that he wanted to do something nice for him.

“We walked off, then Shaq comes to us and says, ‘I like y’all, so get the nicest one in here, and I’ll pay for it,’” Martin recounted in a social media post. In the end, the basketballer bought Martin a new Microsoft Surface Laptop.

It’s not the first time Shaq has paid it forward with fans. Over the years, he’s helped a teen with large feet find shoes that fit him, helped a 12-year-old who was unable to leave the hospital by buying him a new house, and helped a struggling mom buy school supplies for her kids, among other kind acts.

Everyone Deserves Compassion

It’s always nice to see celebrities, who seem to have so much, go out of their way to give back to their fans and the communities that have supported them. But this story is also a great reminder that everyone in life deserves compassion.

Martin had zero expectations that day when he approached a global superstar and offered his condolences. He was just treating him like the human being he is. And Shaq was so touched, he wanted to do something kind back.

We never really know what someone else is going through. Sometimes when someone seems to have it all together, they’re actually really hurting inside. That makes it important to treat everyone with compassion and respect and remember that we only know the things we see.

Opening our minds and hearts isn’t just a great way to practice compassion and kindness, but it makes our corner of the world a nicer space.