updated 08/12/2014 AT 8:00 AM ET
•originally published 08/12/2014 AT 8:45 AM ET
Former PEOPLE correspondent Anne Longley had her own special memory of Robin Williams and the warm way he interacted with her then-11-year-old son, Colin Longstaff.
Here, in her own words, is her – and Robin and Colin’s – very touching story.
In 1996, I was a stringer for PEOPLE and was sent to Puerto Rico to cover a fundraiser for the American Paralysis Association, headed by Christopher Reeve. Many celebs came down for the event, including Reeve’s good friend Robin Williams.
At a beach party the first evening, I introduced myself to him and he couldn’t have been more polite. I asked for a 10-to-15 minute interview the next day to discuss the Reeve Foundation, and he said sure.
I then asked if he could possibly spend a few minutes with my 11-year-old son; I told him Colin was often teased about being overweight and his self-esteem could use a boost. Williams visibly brightened and said he’d be happy to.
The next day, Colin and I were having lunch at the hotel; Robin came up to the table and said, “Hi, are you Colin?” You can only imagine how taken aback my son was at a fellow he’d only seen on a movie screen talking to HIM! I excused myself and they sat talking for about 25 minutes. Williams’s recent film, Jumanji, was still a hit, and Colin was eager to talk to him about it.