I was so excited when they renamed the Waldo Tunnel the Robin Williams Tunnel. Many would think how typically Marin to name a tunnel after a comedian. But not me. My reasons are personal.
The Robin Williams Tunnel is Marin's gateway to that spectacular view of the Golden Gate Bridge, an international icon, the supermodel of bridges.
But not for me.
Eight years ago, our daughter Casey drove to the bridge and jumped, like thousands of others. Every time I've crossed that bridge since it's been a reminder. I just stare ahead, ignore the throngs of star struck tourists and get through it.
I met Robin Williams in 1997 at Chrissy Field for a charity event. He was waiting in the wings as the kids watched a magician. There was no time to grab Casey, then 7, from the crowd. My wife and I walked up to him.
"Would it be gauche of us to ask for your picture?"
He smiled and gave me an unforgettable riff: "A gauche, a droit, who cares?" We took pictures together and within a minute he was mobbed.
Years later, after Casey died, her friend Maryse came to our annual remembrance gathering with her sweet, quiet boyfriend, Cody. We later learned Cody was Robin's middle son. His sister was named after one of Casey's favorite video games, The Legend of Zelda.
Driving over the Golden Gate now is a little less unbearable. Instead of bracing myself for that supermodel view I look for the green CalTrans 'Robin Williams Tunnel' sign and think about my close encounters with genius. Casey, like all of us, was a gigantic fan, and I hope now Robin is making her laugh till it hurts.
Thanks, Robin Williams.
With a Perspective, I'm John Brooks.
John Brooks has written a memoir about his search for answers to his daughter's suicide.