Purdue firefighters remember hilarious Robin Williams visit

Robin Williams
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Robin Williams touched many people along the way, including a group of Hoosier firefighters.

Williams came to Purdue in 2008 to perform at Elliot Hall, but it was the unexpected performance he gave to some fireman, that those men have said they will never forget.

"I guess if you wish anything, he's in a better place," said Purdue University Assistant Fire Chief Kevin Clark. "He's incredible. The man's about as quick-witted as I ever met."

Clark and some other Purdue firemen came face-to-face with Williams on the tarmac of the university's airport when the comedian landed there six years ago to perform for students.

The firemen were there doing emergency training.

"I said, 'Guys, this is Robin Williams coming' and they said, 'No'," Clark recalled.

Sure enough, though, it was.

"He looked over and didn't hesitate, just almost jogged over towards us and introduced himself," recalled Clark. "He thanked us for our service. He said he really appreciated what we do here. There was no airs about him. He was just one of the guys."

He gave an impromptu performance on the spot.

"He just kind of, like, went off into a 20-minute little skit there and had us almost in tears crying," Clark remembered. "He'd throw out lines and have you laughing and then somebody would try and come up with a come back and the second you'd finish what you were saying, 'Bam!' he was back at you again and you were just like, 'Wow.'"

Regrettably, none of the firemen have a picture of that incredible chance encounter.

"Here's a bunch of guys that carry their cell phones and you would have thought that somebody that day would have grabbed a picture of all times. No one snapped a picture of him," said Clark.

He said the crew is still talking about it, especially now, with Williams' passing.

"This is a man that was so creative and loved by so many people who will be missed," said Clark. "He probably has all his friends up there now laughing."