MOVIEGOER: Kindness, according to Katharine Hepburn

Published March 31, 2021, 12:44 PM

by Nestor Cuartero

Katharine Hepburn (Facebook)

IN THIS LENTEN SEASON, as we remember Jesus Christ’s supreme sacrifice, we are reminded of one great lesson: Love.

In simple, ordinary terms, how do we show that love to those around us, about us, people we see on the streets, people we don’t know personally or who have nothing to do with our daily lives and concerns.

The great actress Katharine Hepburn knew of one way. Through kindness.

Shared on Facebook recently is a fragment from the legendary star’s life story, in which she records a simple act of kindness whose message reverberates many, many years later.


WRITING IN HER MEMOIR, ‘’Everything Good in the World,’’ Katharine recalled that while still in her teens, she stood with her father in line to buy tickets to the circus.

‘’Finally, there was only one other family between us and the ticket counter. This family made a big impression on me.

There were eight children, all probably under the age of 12. The way they were dressed, you could tell they didn’t have a lot of money, but their clothes were neat and clean.’’

The children, she noted, were well-behaved, all of them standing in line, two-by-two behind their parents, holding hands. They were excitedly jabbering about the clowns, animals, and all the acts they would be seeing that night. By their excitement, you could sense they had never been to the circus before. It would be a highlight of their lives.


HERE’S MS. HEPBURN in her own words:

The ticket lady asked the man how many tickets he wanted. He proudly responded, “I’d like to buy eight children’s tickets and two adult tickets.”

The ticket lady stated the price.

The man’s lip began to quiver. Then he leaned a little closer and asked, “How much did you say?”

The man didn’t have enough money. How was he supposed to turn and tell his eight kids that he didn’t have enough money to take them to the circus?

Seeing what was going on, my dad reached into his pocket, pulled out a $20 bill, and then dropped it on the ground. (We were not wealthy in any sense of the word!).

My father bent down, picked up the $20 bill, tapped the man on the shoulder and said, “Excuse me, sir, this fell out of your pocket.”

The man understood what was going on.

He looked straight into my dad’s eyes, took my dad’s hand in both of his, squeezed tightly onto the $20 bill, and with his lip quivering and a tear streaming down his cheek, he replied; “Thank you, thank you, sir. This really means a lot to me and my family.”


MY FATHER AND I went back to our car and drove home. The $20 that my dad gave away is what we were going to buy our own tickets with.

Although we didn’t get to see the circus that night, we both felt a joy inside us that was far greater than seeing the circus.

That day I learned the value to give.

The giver is bigger than the receiver. If you want to be large, larger than life, learn to Give. Love has nothing to do with what you are expecting to get – only with what you are expecting to give – which is everything.

The importance of giving, blessing others can never be over emphasized because there’s always joy in giving.

Learn to make someone happy by acts of giving.