Paul Walker Secretly Paid for Military Couple’s $9,000 Engagement Ring
Paul Walker quietly paid for a military couple’s engagement ring at a jewelry store nearly a decade ago, an act of generosity that is only now being shared in the wake of the actor’s tragic death. The star died on Saturday — just after attending a charity event for his organization — and stories about his philanthropy are now surfacing as friends and strangers alike recall their interactions with The Fast and the Furious star.
In 2004, Walker happened to be shopping at a Santa Barbara jewelry store when he noticed Kyle and Kristen Upham, who were browsing for diamond rings. Kyle Upham was a soldier about to be deployed to Iraq for a second time. Sales associate Irene King recognized Walker, but the Uphams didn’t at first. “When we were talking, we exchanged names and talked about what each of us did,” Kyle now tells CBS.
Kristen says, “And when he found out Kyle just came back from Iraq — I remember seeing the look in his face. He kind of transformed.” When Walker later overheard Kyle tell Kristen that the ring she really liked was unaffordable, he secretly took action. “He called the manager and he said, ‘Umm, the ring that those people are looking at – put it on my tab,’” King recalls. “Soon after that, he just left.” The Uphams ultimately left the store, too, but were called back for a huge surprise.
“One of the ladies came out holding a bag and just said, ‘Here’s your ring.’ I think both of our mouths dropped,” says Kristen. Staff at the jewelry store refused to tell the couple — or anyone else — that Walker was behind the gesture. While the Uphams suspected that Walker may have been the anonymous buyer, it was never confirmed until King’s son told the story on Facebook after Walker’s death. “When we hand down the ring through the generations, there will always be a story to tell,” says Kyle. Kristen adds, “His real life speaks volumes of his character. He really did put his money where his mouth is and did good for this world.”