Rapper T.I. took a break from preparing for his pending court date to help talk a man out of suicide this past Wednesday, according to ABC News. T.I. heard about the man’s plight on Atlanta radio, and was moved to drive down to try to help. Police used a taped recording made by the rapper to help persuade the man not to jump from the ledge of the 22-story building.
T.I. is hardly the first celebrity to try to use his fame for good. Harrison Ford made headlines as a real-life hero after the New York Daily News and other media outlets picked up the story of his helicopter rescue of a sick hiker in 2000. Ford apparently offers his services to the cash-strapped Jackson-area police and fire departments in Wyoming for rescue efforts if needed. He was called upon again to rescue a lost boy scout in 2001.
Tom Cruise garnered attention pre-Oprah couch-jumping by saving a group of five when their yacht sank in 1996. People.com reported that Cruise and then-wife Nicole Kidman were sailing with their children and some friends when they spotted the stranded sailors and their crew in the water. Cruise sent over his skiff to grab them, moments before their ship sank below the waterline. That wasn’t the first time he had been nearby for a rescue, after saving a boy from being crushed in a crowd earlier that same year and having paid for emergency services for a woman who had been struck by a car in front of the actor the year before.
John Travolta lent his piloting skills and private jet to help with relief efforts in Haiti following the devastating earthquake that left thousands homeless and without food earlier this year. MSNBC reported that he and wife Kelly Preston took approximately six tons of medical supplies and food to the country, and later also transported doctors into the country to help the injured.
Neither Travolta nor Ford were facing criminal charges at the time of their rescues, so their efforts were met with unequivocal praise. T.I.’s efforts, with a pending court date, have unfortunately been viewed a little more skeptically, and ABC News reports that the rapper has had to deny that the event was a publicity stunt. Cruise had to deny the same thing as well due to his poor public persona at the time of his rescues. While T.I.’s efforts will undoubtedly help his public image with some, it’s unlikely to affect his court case or sway his harshest critics.
Christine Kearney and Jill Serjeant, “Rapper T.I. denies suicide save was publicity stunt.” ABCNews.com
Corky Seimaszko, “Indy save hiker but gets hatful.” NewYorkDailyNews.com
Pam Lambert, “Tom Terrific.” People.com
MSNBC.com, “Travolta flies jetload of relief supplies to Haiti.”