Remembering Paul Walker, our Fast & Furious hero

It is a twist of faith that the actor most famous for the car-racing movie series Fast & Furious, died in a car crash.

Ayesha Amin December 02, 2013
December 1, 2013 - 8:30 am

I woke up Sunday morning, dreading the day that was going to be full of guests very soon. I had a busy day ahead of me and all I could think of doing was lazing around in bed, not bothering with anything in the world. Knowing, however, that I couldn’t do that, I struggled to move the warm embrace my blanket insisted on giving me. 

December 1, 2013 - 8:30 pm

The last few guests moved from the dining room, into the TV lounge for green tea before they (finally) made an exit. Whilst serving them hot cups of green tea and coffee, I overheard one of my friends suddenly stand up and ask my husband for the password for the internet.

Startled by her the urgency in her voice, I asked if everything was alright.

Pale in her face, she replied,
“Paul Walker is dead, Ayesha. He died.”

The noise in the room of people chatting suddenly died down to a mere hush.

Another friend got up, a look of annoyance covering her face, said,
“God Amna, you scared us. I thought something had happened to your family! Uff, just calm down and stop making such a big deal about something like this. It’s sad but there is definitely no need for you to overreact like this.”

The silence that followed this time was awkward.

Amna look at my friend and exclaimed,
“It is a big deal Nabiha. Someone died. He died in a car crash! You don't have to have known him to sympathise. The point is that a person died.”

Nabiha looked at Amna, rolled her eyes and said,
“If he wasn’t one of your favourite actors, it wouldn’t have mattered to you anyways. People die here every day, don’t they? I don’t see you crying bowls full of tears for them.”

Visibly disgusted, Amna said,
“I don’t see why it is so hard for you to understand that another human died. Many have, but this was one more. It is not about who, where, why or how. What is the point of comparing one to another? The point is that another human died and yes, I am sad about it. Just like I am for the loss of any life.”

Before I could step in to mellow the conversation down a tad bit, Amna continued,
“It disgusts me how you can resort to complete indifference just because he died on the other side of the planet.”

A little embarrassed Nabiha tried to defend herself and said,
“That is not what I was trying to say. All I meant was that, he was just an actor. Your reaction frightened me and I thought it was one of your family members. That’s all.”

“He wasn’t just an actor, Nabiha, he was a man who died in a horrific car accident. An accident that was not foreseen. All while his friends and family waited patiently for him to return only to realise he was never coming back.

Yes, he was an actor and I loved him, but I would mourn his death as much as I would anyone elses. Just because he wasn’t part of my family doesn’t mean I will not mourn his death. Just because he wasn’t Pakistani doesn’t mean we won’t miss seeing him in movies.”

I set the tray of teacups on the centre table and asked the girls to have some tea before any other outburst could have taken place.

December 1, 2013 - 10:30 pm

With thoughts of Paul Walker’s death still on my mind and being admittedly upset about the loss his family, friends and fans were enduring I decided to take a look at whether anyone in Pakistan really cared about this. If anyone at all even bothered to notice.

To my surprise, I found out that, within the first few hours of his crash, Paul Walker and Fast & Furious were trending in Pakistan. Here are some of the tweets I came across, not only from Pakistan, but from all over the world that were truly heartbreaking:

Fans were shocked by the sudden death of Paul Walker, the 40-year-old actor most famous for his roles in the Fast & Furious movie series, in a car crash on December 1, 2013. He had been at an event for his charity Reach Out Worldwide after which he accompanied his friend, former race car driver Roger Rodas on the ill-fated drive.

Actor Paul Walker starred in five out of six of the Fast & Furious movie series. Photo: Universal Studios

Although not many people knew him personally, he touched all whom he met with his generous and humble nature. For me, knowing him through his films was enough to make an impact. Many heartbroken celebrities mourned him on Twitter too:

When I started reading more about him, I came across many articles about his life. Walker’s life has truly been inspirational. Born to Cheryl – a fashion model – and Paul William Walker III – a sewer contractor – he began his acting career as a toddler, when he starred in a television commercial for Pampers.

Paul Walker as a child. Photo: Seth Poppel/Yearbook Library

In 1985, he started appearing in television shows in 1985 such as Highway to Heaven and The Young and the Restless.

Paul Walker in Highway to Heaven. Photo: IGN.COM

In 1988 he starred with his sister Ashlie in the game show, I’m Telling! in which the duo won second place.

Paul Walker and his sister Ashlie in the game show 'I'm Telling!' Photo: screengrab from NBC

Paul went to high school at the Village Christian High School where he was awarded ‘Best Hair’ in the 1991 yearbook. Thank God he grew out of that hairstyle before I became a fan.

Walker was awarded 'Best Hair' in his high school yearbook in 1991. Photo: Seth Poppel/Yearbook Library

Walker considered his first film credit to be the 1986 Monsters in the Closet, although his most remembered movies are undoubtedly The Fast & The Furious Series (2001-2013), Pleasantville (1998), Varsity Blues (1999), She's All That (1999), The Skulls (2000), Joy Ride (2001), Timeline (2003), Into the Blue (2005), Eight Below (2006),  Flags of Our Fathers (2006) and Takers (2010).

Walker with Reese Witherspoon in Pleasantville. Photo: New Line Cinema, Inc.

Walker starred with Freddie Prinze Jr. in She's All That. Photo: Miramax

Walker with Leslie Bibb and Joshua Jackson in Skulls. Photo: Universal

Paul Walker in Into the Blue. Photo: 20th Century Fox

Walker starred in Flags of Our Fathers with Barry Pepper. Photo: Dreamworks

Ironically, Walker was undergoing the filming of Fast & Furious 7 when he died in the crash. 

What makes this incident even more heart-rending is the fact that his next movie was all set to release in July, 2014 and just two days ago he had tweeted:

As the news of his crash spread like wildfire, fans from all over the world flocked to social  networking sites - first to confirm the news and later, to express their shock and grief, including me.

Death, it seems has a way of haunting us all and we know it'll catch up with us sooner or later. A sudden, tragic death like this, however, becomes one that is hard to accept. It hadn't hit me - his death - when Amna and Nabiha were arguing earlier. But now - it has become a piece of reality that all of us will have to face.

Death, I have come to realise, in any shape or form, transcends all borders, religions, beliefs and arouses the innate humanity in all of us.

I know he may have been no one to someone, but he was someone very special to many. So instead of comparing one death to another, I think it wouldn't be very hard to call out to our inner human and just honour each loss of life. Whatever it may have been worth.

So, from all of us here in Pakistan, Paul Walker, you will truly be missed.

May you rest in peace.

Facebook Conversations


pakistani in america | 6 years ago | Reply | Recommend I was really saddened by Paul Walker's death. Mainly because he was my favorite in the Fast and Furious series and because he died so young. Having said that, let's look beyond him just being an actor. While some of my friends did share their grief over his death, I saw some posts coming up that questioned why people were crying over his death when there were thousands of others dying. I find this approach to be as less human as that of a person who wouldn't sympathize with the latter. think about it for a minute. Yes, the stark and unfortunate truth is that thousands and thousands of innocent people are lost all around the world and nothing makes the worth of any human being less than that of another. We know death is a reality, yet we do not familiarize ourselves with its unpredictability. Such incidents; when you could see how Walker tweeted about the upcoming Fast 7 two days before he died, when you see how young he was, when you see he's survived by a daughter who would never see her father again, you can just know more about what life is in general. Being a public figure means your life is public and so is your death; people draw inspiration from famous people. So what if even one person learnt a lesson from this incident and tried to be a better human being than he was yesterday when he realized how unpredictable life was, even for someone who had everything one could imagine: money, fame, success etc. And ultimately, he was another human being, like all of us.
Qaiser Habib | 6 years ago | Reply | Recommend Fast & Furious changed a lot of young minds. But Thrill is dangerous, thats for sure.
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