"Star Trek: The Next Generation" star Wil Wheaton. (John M. Heller/Getty Images)
Get your tissues ready, because it's time for a tearjerker of a story from former “Star Trek: The Next Generation” actor Wil Wheaton.
Wheaton, 40, is best known as Wesley Crusher on “TNG,” and as a result, he’s a very popular attraction at numerous sci-fi conventions around the world.
“Appearing as a guest at a big convention like MegaCon is a lot of fun, but it’s also exhausting,” Wheaton wrote in a note he posted to his Facebook page on Tuesday, after attending the latest convention in Orlando, Fla. “People always ask me if my arm or hand or wrist is tired near the end of a long day of signing, and I always tell them the truth: my body never gets tired; it’s my brain that is exhausted.”
Wheaton went on to explain that it’s important to him to have a meaningful interaction with each of his fans, because he knows what it’s like “to be on that side of the table,” but that the experience can be tiring after meeting hundreds of people in one day. But every once in a while, he wrote, he has an experience that is memorable for both the fans and for himself.
One of such meetings happened to him at last week's MegaCon, and Whaton admitted that he had been “struggling to find the right words to recount” the experience ever since.
On Saturday, a young woman, her husband, and two children approached Wheaton’s table, and the mother handed him a letter because “she knew she wouldn’t be able to get through what she wanted to say.” Wheaton writes:
I unfolded it, and read her story. When she was a young girl, she had a serious complication due to her Lupus, and her doctors told her that she would never walk again. She had a photo of me, though, that she took with her to physical therapy every day, and the therapists would hold it up for her and encourage her to walk toward it — toward me — while she recovered. She made a promise to herself, she said, that she would walk again some day, and if I was ever in her town, she would walk up to meet me. At the end of her letter, she thanked me for being there, so she could *walk* to meet me.
I looked up at her through tears, and she looked back at me through her own. I stood up, walked around my table, and put about fifteen feet between us. I held my arms open, and asked her to walk over to me. She began to cry, and slowly, confidently closed the distance between us. I embraced her, and we stood there for a minute, surrounded by thousands of people who had no idea what was going on, and cried together.
“I’m so proud of you,” I said, quietly, “and I am so honored.”
We wiped the tears away, and I sat back down to sign a photo for her. I looked at her young children. “Your mom is remarkable,” I said, “and I know you don’t get it, because she’s, like your mom? But you have to trust me: she is.”
Wheaton teared up again as the woman’s husband explained to their confused kids “Mommy’s okay. Mommy’s okay,” and the iconic actor realized the impact he had by inspiring a young fan to beat the odds.
Whether you're a "Star Trek" fan or not, there's no denying that Wheaton's story is a beautiful one.
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