No one ever accused cigar-smoking, Scotch-sipping comedian Ron White of being sweet, much less angelic. Except maybe his mother.
But a Bakersfield woman says she witnessed the "good and gracious" side of the slightly rough-around-the-edges stand-up comic in October when White was hospitalized at Mercy Hospital after canceling his planned performance at the Fox Theater.
"He ended up in the emergency room where he met my 87-year-old mother, Edith," Bakersfield resident Karen Taylor said in an email to The Californian.
The stand-up comic had a show scheduled at the Fox Theater that night, Oct. 25. But he canceled the show after experiencing swelling in his neck that made it hard for him to breathe and move, TMZ reported. White also canceled other shows in Napa and Santa Rosa after doctors discovered an infection in his neck.
Taylor, 59, and other members of her family spent four or five hours in the hospital room White shared with Taylor's mom, Edith Massitt. But they didn't know who he was until the end of his stay.
At one point, Taylor believes White covered Edith's insurance co-pay of $75 after he realized she had forgotten her checkbook.
“I want to take the opportunity to let people know that I met a wonderful Texas gentleman that night — a man who looked to the needs of others at a time when he was clearly hurting himself,” Taylor said.
It was a small, sweet, anonymous gift from a sometimes acerbic stand-up comic. Taylor felt like she got a rare look behind the stage persona of the popular funnyman.
"I think people should know," she said.
Kathe Nelson, of Buford, Ga.-based Plastered Touring LLC, an agency that handles publicity for White, laughed when a reporter suggested the stand-up comic's reputation might be placed at risk should fans discover he's actually a really nice guy.
"It's certainly not unlike Ron to do something like that," Nelson said of White's random act of kindness.
But it's not something he would ever expect to receive kudos for — or that anyone would even hear about it, she said.
Indeed, White did not appear to call attention to his short medical crisis on his Twitter account. And a tweet directed to the comedian Tuesday did not immediately receive a response.
"I have some experience with Texans," said Taylor, who taught English at Texas Tech University in Lubbock.
She admitted thinking celebrities like White might be prima donnas, a little spoiled, a little demanding.
"He just had a sweetness to him," she said. "I didn't get a chance to thank him, so I hope he reads this."