- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 5, 2013

Adding truth to the old adage “only the good die young” is this story from a Santa Barbara jewelry store owner, who recounted a sheer act of kindness and generosity by actor Paul Walker, who died in a fiery car crash at age of 40 on Sunday.

Irene King said she was helping a couple pick out a wedding ring, when Mr. Walker walked into her jewelry shop and struck up a chat. It was 2004, around the holiday season, and the man she was helping with ring selections, Kyle Upham, had actually just returned from a military duty deployment to Iraq, Gawker reported.

His fiancée found a ring she loved, in the price range of $9,000. Mr. Upham said, Gawker reported: “Honey, I can’t afford that.”

Mr. Walker, however, who learned of the couple’s engagement and of Mr. Upham’s service to the nation, quietly approached Ms. King.

He said, “Put it on my tab,” Ms. King said, Gawker reported. But he also said to keep his contribution quiet — he didn’t want the couple to know who bought the ring.

Mr. Walker left the store and Ms. King advised the couple the $9,000 ring was theirs for the keeping. It wasn’t until after Mr. Walker’s death that Ms. King outed his generosity. And since, the story’s gone viral.

The Uphams, meanwhile, are still married and say the story confirms their suspicions — that they had thought Mr. Walker had paid for the ring, but weren’t sure.

Kristen Upham said to CBS: “I noticed there was someone else in [the store] and didn’t it much thought, and we started looking at rings and whatnot.” She said the “someone else” in the shop kept telling the couple to “Go bigger,” and choose a ring with a larger stone.

“I kept saying, ‘No, look at the prices,’ ” she said, CBS reported. But she did finally point out a larger one that captured her attention — and that’s the one Mr. Walker bought on the sly.