On Thursday afternoon, Denzel Washington was driving through West Hollywood when he noticed a homeless man standing near oncoming traffic. Rather than bypass him, the actor chose to pull over and walk the person to the safety of the sidewalk where he continued to comfort him until the police arrived, TMZ reported earlier today.
In photographs shared by the outlet, the actor was dressed casually in a gray T-shirt, black athletic shorts, and a black baseball cap, also wearing a mask for protection. The unnamed man was wearing a blue hoodie and black pants, but no protective mask.
Given the current pandemic and recommended social distancing guidelines, Washington sensibly maintained a few feet of distance from the man throughout their interaction. The policeman on the scene was also wearing a mask.
That said, the 65-year-old actor did place a reassuring hand on the homeless man’s shoulder throughout their conversation with the police officer. At one point in the shared video footage, it looked like Washington squeezed his arm gently to offer comfort.
According to TMZ, it is not clear what may have caused the man’s distress or why he was standing so close to the oncoming flow of traffic. Washington tried to put him at ease and kept him company until the authorities arrived. In the video, it did not appear the person recognized the actor — if he did, he seemed unfazed.
The cops then detained the man, although it is not clear why. He was eventually released.
On social media, many fans were touched by Washington’s actions and remarked that his decision to step in to help someone in need made them feel more respect for him.
“Not surprised AT ALL, that #DenzelWashington would be the voice of reason to help someone!” one fan wrote.
“Didn’t expect anything lesser from the legend,” chimed in another Twitter user.
A few users said that the news helped brighten their day amid all of the darkness brewing in the world, adding that the story gave them hope.
“With so much hate in the world, this was nice to see first thing in the morning. Stop being a**holes and be like Denzel,” tweeted a third person.
As The Daily Beast pointed out, The Equalizer star’s decision is one of many incidents where actors have stepped in to help out a fellow human in need. Ryan Gosling once made headlines for rushing out to stop a blogger from being hit by a car. In 2015, Brad Pitt likewise saved a little girl from being trampled by a crowd.