When Keanu Reeves’ Flight Was Grounded, He Decided To Hit The Road With His Fellow Passengers

It’s fair to say that Keanu Reeves doesn’t have a good track record when it comes to public transport. After all, in 1994’s Speed, the action hero plays a cop aboard a bus that’s doomed to detonate if it slows below 50 mph. And in 2019 the actor experienced another vehicle-related disaster – only this time, it was all too real. Reeves was on a flight to California in March, when his aircraft suddenly encountered a problem. But the Matrix star’s actions shocked his fellow passengers.

Keanu Reeves has certainly starred in his fair share of big blockbusters and famous franchises since the start of his career in the 1980s. As well as Speed, he has taken lead roles in 1991’s Point Break, the Bill & Ted films, the Matrix trilogy, 2008’s The Day the Earth Stood Still and the John Wick series – to name but a few. And often, the actor’s movies see him portraying heroic characters who are destined to be saviors.

And Reeves’ bright light doesn’t look as though it will dim any time soon. The actor has several big projects on the way, in fact. John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum is due to be released in May 2019, for instance, and Bill & Ted Face the Music has begun production for a 2020 release date. Plus, the Canadian will be lending his voice to Toy Story 4, which is also scheduled to hit theaters in 2019.

Off screen, meanwhile, Reeves has found himself with a reputation for being one of the nicest celebrities in the movie industry. Take the reddit thread that emerged in 2011, for instance, which sees people who have apparently encountered the actor sharing stories about unexpectedly sweet things that he has done.

“Back in the late ’90s and fresh out of college, I got my first job as an assistant prop designer on the set of Chain Reaction,” wrote reddit user bo2dd2. “Every day for the last few weeks of filming, [Reeves] treated the stage hands and ‘grunt workers’ (including myself) by taking us out for free breakfast and lunch. He was genuinely a very nice guy to work with.”

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However, this anecdote is just the beginning. As it turns out, in fact, tons of people have stories to share about Reeves’ kind nature. “A family friend builds movie sets. [He] doesn’t design; [he’s] one of the poor dudes that just builds,” one user commented. “Anyways, he worked on the set for The Matrix, and [Reeves] heard about family trouble he was having and gave him a $20,000 Christmas bonus to help him out.”

“[Reeves] was also was one of the only people on the set that genuinely wanted to know people’s names, would say hello and mean it and would talk to people as [though] they were his peers and not below him just because they were practically making nothing to build a set,” the reddit user went on. “[Reeves] seems like the nicest person in Hollywood from a second-hand experience.”

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Another user, meanwhile, shared a tale about Reeves gallantly rescuing someone from a sticky situation. “A friend of mine told me that she was once stranded on the side of a highway outside LA when her jalopy broke down,” the redditor wrote. “She had no cell phone (that was before most people had cell phones) and no way to call for help.”

“Then, a nice, black Porsche pulls over, and as you can guess, it was [Reeves]. He tried to help her jump start the car, and when it didn’t work, he called AAA for her,” the user continued. “When they towed her car, he offered to drive her home, which she accepted. He drove about 50 miles out of his destination just to drive her home.”

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Other fans were also keen to tell the world about just how generous Reeves seems to be. “I had a few friends working special effects jobs on the Matrix movies,” explained one redditor. “[Reeves] bought all of them f***ing Harleys for Christmas during the shoot for the second one.” And motorcycle enthusiasts – just as [Reeves] is – will know that those bikes certainly don’t come cheap.

But the reddit user wasn’t done singing Reeves’ praises. “One of those guys, Paul, said that [Reeves] was the most sincere, humble and lovely dude he’d ever met,” they revealed. “[He] said [Reeves] eschewed contact with the cast in favor of hanging out with the crew, was the only guy the martial arts coaches respected out of the whole cast and was the bravest man he’s ever met.”

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Plus, if you’re wondering whether some fans may be exaggerating when it comes to their appreciation, Reeves himself has spoken out about his acts of kindness, too. The star corroborated the bike story, for instance, back in 2003. “We were all in this thing, and we were training together beforehand,” Reeves told the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. “I just wanted to give a bigger thank-you to all these guys who helped me make this – I think, one of the great movie fights in the history of cinema.”

It perhaps comes as no shock, then, that some of Reeves’ co-stars think the world of him, too. Take Sandra Bullock, for example, who in 2018 described the actor to Ellen DeGeneres as “sweet” and “handsome.” Plus, she revealed that Reeves had helped her out while filming one of the scenes in Speed. “My dress sort of kept flying up. I said, ‘Whatever you do, just keep my dress down,’” she said. “The whole stunt he just made sure of my dress.”

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On top of protecting famous actresses’ modesties on movie sets, Reeves’ gentlemanly behavior appears to carry over into everyday interactions as well. In 2011, for example, a subway passenger taped Reeves offering up his seat to a woman in the carriage. The clip was shared on reddit, where it quickly became the most popular post of the day. “I’m glad there are still famous people around [who] act as if they’re not,” one commenter said.

What’s more, Reeves is also noted for giving away money to charitable causes – and lots of it, too. When in 1991 the star’s sister Kim began battling cancer, for instance, he quickly devoted cash and effort into helping her fight the disease. According to reports, Reeves spent $5 million on medical assistance to help make her better and was there by her side, supporting her throughout.

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“Keanu helped me so much through my illness,” Kim told Australian magazine Woman’s Day in 1999. “When the pain got really bad, he would sit with me and hold my hand and keep the ‘bad man’ from making me dance. He was supporting me and comforting me all the time – even when he was away.”

“I love Kim,” Reeves told the Aussie magazine himself. “She’s so brave, and I want the very best for her. You can star in hit movies, but that’s nothing compared to going through what Kim’s been through.” Thankfully, Kim went into remission and no longer needs care. But Reeves has nevertheless continued to fund cancer research.

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Reeves actually has an organization that’s devoted to helping people like Kim. “I have a private foundation that’s been running for five or six years, and it helps aid a couple of children’s hospitals and cancer research,” he told Ladies’ Home Journal in 2009. “I don’t like to attach my name to it; I just let the foundation do what it does.”

Plus, according to an article published in The Wall Street Journal in 2001, Reeves even gave away some of the money that he made from The Matrix. The Canadian apparently negotiated his paycheck so that the fashion and special effects teams got more cash. “[Reeves] felt that they were the ones who made the movie and that they should participate,” an executive on the film told the publication.

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Moreover, in 2006 Reeves revealed to Playboy magazine how he planned to spend the remainder of his salary from The Matrix – which was still a considerable sum, mind you. And the star’s answer was illuminating. “I can buy my mom a house, which is great. Then, I can do the renovation,” he explained. “And yes, I can expand my level of philanthropy.”

Reeves’ reputation as one of the most decent people in Hollywood has spread and spread, in fact, to the extent that he was asked about it during an interview with Esquire in 2017. “You’re known for being a nice guy,” the interviewer said to him. And Reeves responded only with a nervous “okay.”

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In fact, Reeves appeared to be totally oblivious to the array of internet rumors about his kindheartedness. When the interviewer brought up the motorcycle story, for example, Reeves practically waved it away as though it was nothing. “Oh, I did that for the gentlemen who were involved in this really big fight in The Matrix – in the second one, the Agent Smith fight.”

What’s more, the interviewer tried to inform Reeves about other stories circulating the web, such as the anecdote about him stopping to help the stranded motorist. “I’m just a normal guy, man,” Reeves said. The interviewer, however, responded, “You’re known for being a good guy in an industry not known for it.” And yet the actor nevertheless remained totally humble. “Well, that’s a nice thing to be known for,” he said. “That’s really nice – true or not.”

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Although Reeves may not truly believe that he’s anything special, more proof of his giant heart came along in 2019. In March, you see, he got on a United Airlines plane – an ordinary aircraft alongside ordinary people. The flight was supposed to be taking Reeves and the other passengers from San Francisco to Los Angeles – but alas, they didn’t quite make it that far.

Cartoonist Brian Rea, who illustrates “Modern Love” for the The New York Times, happened to be on the same plane as Reeves. And he documented the whole adventure via Instagram Stories. “So, I got on a plane with [Reeves]… He was very pleasant. [He] took photos [and] talked about [his] latest project with two very enthusiastic airline employees,” Rea explained.

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Plus, Rea got to sit right near the movie star – so he certainly had a front row seat during the action. “We boarded. [Reeves] sat two rows up. I fell asleep,” Rea said. “Then, all of a sudden… Our plane with [Reeves] was diverted to Bakersfield. They just announced we may be taking… a bus.” But not to worry, this was very different from the plot of Speed.

One of the videos from the scene shows Reeves helping out his fellow passengers. Yes, the star takes charge and begins instructing the other flyers on how they should handle the situation. “People who can unload the bags won’t be here for three hours. The vans will be here in an hour, so if you want to hit the road and deal with your bags later or deal with customer service and get it delivered later, maybe,” Reeves said.

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And if getting stellar advice from action star Reeves during an emergency weren’t awesome enough, next came the unexpected road trip. That’s right: Reeves joined his fellow passengers on an impromptu van ride to their intended destination. And the actor made sure to keep everyone entertained, too. First, Reeves read out random facts about Bakersfield. The Canadian then moved onto what he called “Bakersfield sounds,” whipping out some old country music on his phone for his new friends.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the internet absolutely delighted over this part of the video. “Y’all, I’m pretty sure [Reeves] uses the browser version of youtube instead of just downloading the app… no words,” wrote a Twitterer calling themselves “keanusgf.” “[Reeves] can use his phone more than we expected; I’m impressed,” wrote another person.

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Eventually, the van stopped so that people could eat. And Reeves amused his fellow road-trippers by grabbing a Gatorade, water and a banana. It’s good to know he has a balanced diet! Then, when the first passenger arrived at their destination, Reeves shook his hand and said, “Pleasure to meet you,” because he really is just that nice of a guy.

Of course, a few people took the opportunity to take pictures with Reeves on the road. One of them was game developer Amir Blum, who was flying back from the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco. “That time when your flight out from #GDC almost crashes, and you have to emergency land in a remote airport – but at least Keanu Reeves is having as bad a day as you are,” he captioned his photo.

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Meanwhile, another passenger going by the name Alexa on Twitter posted a picture of herself standing with Reeves, too. “This was my Saturday, guys. The plane almost crashed, and Keanu Reeves was on it,” she wrote. The photo is adorable – and proof that even though Reeves was caught up in a super-inconvenient situation, the A-lister still had time for his fans.

United Airlines shortly released a statement about what had happened to cause the emergency landing in the first place. It was “due to a mechanical indication,” a spokesperson told Yahoo! “The flight landed safely without incident in Bakersfield. Passengers deplaned normally at the gate and were then transported via ground transportation to Burbank.”

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Brian Rea later posted a message on Instagram about his unexpected road trip with Reeves, after the story went viral. “Hey everyone. There’s been a lot of attention about a recent story I posted about an ‘adventure’ on a minibus with one of the great humanitarians – and fave actors – of our time,” he wrote.

“I don’t have anything to add other than that all the passengers were incredibly kind and lovely people, including the folks who took care of us in Bakersfield, CA,” Rea went on. And this has been a sentiment echoed by other passengers, too. “Perhaps, though, with all this attention, we can do some good,” he said.

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“In the spirit of what a generous person Mr. Reeves is, here are a few charities that you might consider donating to if you don’t already. If you do have copies of the video, please attach links to these charities alongside them,” Rea wrote. And he named various charities, including Stand Up to Cancer, beneath the post.

Reeves has yet to comment publicly on the airplane incident, but we’re sure that he’d be glad to know that his mere presence on a diverted flight spurred people into charitable actions. For a long time now, the celebrity has been quietly giving money away, after all, and he seemingly does so without ever expecting anything in return. So, just why is Reeves such a generous guy?

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Well, people have occasionally pondered whether Reeves’ sad past has anything to do with his selflessness and all-round niceness. After all, the star has suffered a lot of pain in his life. His parents divorced when he was still a child, for one thing, and eventually his father stopped maintaining contact with him. Then, when Reeves was 23, his best friend and fellow actor, River Phoenix, tragically succumbed to an untimely death.

However, in 2000 something even worse happened to Reeves. His girlfriend Jennifer Syme – with whom he had split a year previously – was, horrifically, killed in a car accident. “Grief changes shape, but it never ends,” Reeves mused to Parade magazine in 2006.

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Despite everything terrible that’s happened to Reeves, however, he has certainly pushed on. The star has not only built a big name for himself in Hollywood, but he’s proved that he has a giant heart, too – if the sweet stories that have circulated the internet are anything to go by. And hopefully, there will be even more of these touching tales to come in the future – not to mention more of his movies.

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