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When Rob Lowe Thanked Local Firefighters with a Feast, He Emulated Douglas Fairbanks

Rob Lowe made headlines everywhere from the Twitterverse to old media when he thanked local firefighters in December 2017, by serving them dinner. Don’t get me wrong, it was a wonderful thing to do. The first responders of the Thomas Fire, as the fire that extended from Ventura to Santa Barbara Counties came to be known, staged a herculean response to what became the largest fire in modern California history. And by lending his fame to the gracious act of thanking those who help others, Lowe set an example for everyone who benefits from the heroism exhibited by firefighters. Lowe's Instagram followers agreed: his posted photo of the dinner received more than 68,000 likes.


Whether he knew it or not, though, Lowe was repeating, almost exactly, an act of gratitude performed by Douglas Fairbanks almost a century before. In 1918, when a fire broke out in a living room chimney at Grayhall—the mansion in Beverly Hills owned by Silsby Spaulding that Fairbanks was renting—Fairbanks treated the brigade of volunteer Beverly Hills Firefighters to dinner in another room of the estate after the flames were doused. Unfortunately for Fairbanks, there are no social media posts to commemorate the act.

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