He didn’t come as Jack Bauer, the rebellious one-man nation-saver on the series 24, but as just himself, and it was really quite interesting meeting him and seeing how much of a genuinely nice guy he is.
The occasion, of course, was the unveiling of the new bronze statue of Tommy Douglas, gifted to the city by the extraordinarily-talented sculptor Lea Vivot, as the “Greatest Canadian” who ever lived just happens to be his grandfather.
I’m sure by now everybody in the country knows this, but still, it was major news for this city to have Kiefer visit here; consider when it was announced that he was coming, even the Financial Post carried that on their front page.
The first time I got to meet him was at the T.C. Douglas Centre, as he had a look around at the memorabilia and the photos of his mother, Shirley Douglas, and of Tommy and Irma Douglas, his grandparents. One photo showed his mom and her bike, and it reminded him of a family story, which he shared at the Legion Hall.
The story goes that Tommy came one day to find his daughter crying; as Kiefer explained it, the tears didn’t fall down her face but shot straight out from her eyes. Anyway, she explained that her bike had been stolen; asked why she didn’t get it back, she said the one who stole it was bigger than she was. As Tommy was a former boxing champ, he then gave his daughter her first boxing lesson, and two days later she came home with her bike and a broad smile.
What impressed me about Kiefer was his seemingly infinite patience and graciousness; when we walked out of the museum room at the T.C. Douglas Centre, I was the last one out as he held the door, and he turned to me, holding his hand out and said, “Hello, I’m Kiefer; and you are …?”
I shook his hand and introduced myself, amazed that a Hollywood star (Jack Bauer, dude!) just introduced himself to me. At the Legion, he stood and talked to absolutely everybody who wanted his autograph and/or a photo with him, and he was tireless and gracious to them all.
And, he was so nice about what Weyburn means to the Douglas family; to be sure, this is Tommy’s grandson, and he was clearly proud to be his grandson rather than Jack Bauer facing the Hollywood press. (And in four months he will be Jack Bauer for the 24 movie!)