Dwayne Johnson surprises Shriners' hospital patient who already inspires others

Dwayne Johnson surprises Shriners' hospital patient who already inspires others

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Russell Lupetaala is a patient at the Shriners' Hospitals for Children in Honolulu, where he's known by the nickname "Hollywood."

That's because the 21-year-old has a dream to go there. He's also a big fan of Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson.

Johnson was filming a scene on the mainland along with his cousin and stunt-double, former University of Hawaii football player Tanoai Reed. Shriners arranged for Lupetaala to watch them live via FaceTime. He had no idea that when the director yelled "Cut!", Johnson would turn to the camera.

"It's good to see you man! I've heard a lot about you," said the Hollywood star.

"Thank you!" a stunned Lupetaala replied.

"What surprised me is that -- that guy just give away everything and look at me and faced me like a person and talked to me," he said later. "That's very nice."

Johnson took time out for the personal hello because Lupetaala has been so generous himself. In his homeland of Western Samoa, where there's still a stigma attached to being disabled, he has been certified to repair wheelchairs for others. He's been known to sometimes gives up more than half his pay to give a wheelchair, free, to someone who needs it.

Lupetaala also wants to be famous, like "The Rock," but with a twist.

"It's not famous to go, 'Hi,' shake your hand. No. It's not famous like that," he said. "Famous means that if you are famous, you gotta help people. It's a good thing to do."

And if he finds fame, he wants to inspire others to help Shriners Hospitals, where he has been a patient since 2009. He has been to Shriners in Honolulu several times for surgery for his cerebral palsy.

"I'm very inspired by you, so keep up the great work," Johnson told Lupetaala. "And I heard that you're an awesome guy, and I heard that you give all your gifts away to people and so incredibly talented, and I look forward to meeting you one day."

Lupetaala is scheduled to return to Western Samoa July 17. Johnson and Reed have offered to extend his stay so that Reed has a chance to meet him next month. However, Lupetaala, who has been staying with relatives in a Makakilo apartment, will need another place to stay. Even with that challenge, he still has hopes to meet his idol in person.

"Don't give up if you've got something inside your heart."

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