New twist on 'character actor'

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Abraham Lincoln once stated that if you want to know the true character of a man, give him power.

Well, my wife and I witnessed the validity of that statement July 4th, when we stopped in at Rhinehart’s restaurant and the waitress told us that someone famous was sitting in her section.

I thought I knew who it might be, so I went to investigate. My suspicions were confirmed when I found none other than the actor Gary Sinise dining in the outer area.

For those who may not know who Gary Sinise is, he portrayed Lt. Dan in the movie Forrest Gump. He was in town to promote the Wounded Warrior campaign and to perform the following evening at Fort Gordon.

I told the waitress who he was and why he was in Augusta, and she proceeded to ask Mr. Sinise if she could take a picture with him. Had I not experienced it before, what happened next was almost beyond expectation.

I can understand being an actor and not being able to enjoy a peaceful meal without someone wanting a picture or an autograph, but this man did not have one single issue with it. He simply stated that he would pay his tab and oblige her then.

It was all she could do to maintain her composure while making several trips to and from the restroom, trying to make herself presentable for her forthcoming photo-op.

Well, the time came when he was ready to leave and everyone was standing, in anticipation of his exit. As he approached, he made light of the situation and asked, “What’s everyone staring at?”

This was not the first opportunity I’ve had to meet Mr. Sinise. I was fortunate enough to meet him last summer when my wife and I attended a Wounded Warrior dinner he hosted. This man made it a point to greet and meet every individual at that dinner who wanted to talk to him. No rush. No hurry. And no attitude.

My wife also had her picture taken with him at Rhinehart’s, and to this man’s credit he again made it a point to accommodate any individual in and outside of that establishment who wanted to have his or her picture taken with him. No rush. No hurry. And no attitude.

My point to is this: To be who he is, he has got to be one of the most personable individuals I’ve ever had the opportunity to meet. What a gentleman. I can’t say enough about how he presented himself. You would think he was just another guy come in to wet his whistle and have some conversation.

For someone of his stature to take the time out of his busy life and schedule to promote such a wonderful, noteworthy cause and still manage to take the time to associate with the common folk is nothing short of amazing in my book.

Oh yeah: The waitress almost missed her photo-op, because she was in the restroom primping.

Mario S. Enriquez


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fedex227 08/03/12 - 10:52 pm
Nice letter, great story ...

Mr. Sinise is truly a class act.

dstewartsr 08/04/12 - 09:15 am
Mr. Sinise

...exemplifies the old maxim, "You are who you are when no one is watching," and he is a totally class act, both on and off screen. No playing for the paparazzi, going to Congress testifying about all the experience he has from playing a role. No, he spends on average 30 weeks a year with patriotic projects, despite a killer schedule of narrations, 4th of July projects, and a prime time television series.

I never met the man, but saw him in LAX; he was shaking hands and taking photos with soldiers, and I didn't want to interrupt that.

Riverman1 08/04/12 - 12:12 pm
Lt. Dan, I got you some ice

Lt. Dan, I got you some ice cream.

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