Paul Walker Gifted Military Couple Generous $9000 Engagement Ring

Jun 21, 2022 by apost team

In 2004 when shopping for an engagement ring at an upscale jewelry store in Santa Barbara, one Victorville couple received more than just well wishes from a familiar-looking stranger. 

Newlyweds Kyle and Kristen Upham had seen another young man in the boutique with them while they browsed the selection but didn't pay him much mind. Kristen recalled the mystery man, "I noticed there was someone else in there but didn't give it much thought." The couple simply "started looking at rings and whatnot." 

Eventually, Kyle, who had recently returned from a tour in Iraq, began chatting with the man. After mentioning their respective jobs and learning that the stranger worked in the movies, Kyle realized that the other shopper was none other than Paul Walker. 

Known for his work on the "Fast & Furious" series, the dashing Walker also had a reputation for being one of Hollywood's nice guys. Despite his good looks and matching paycheck, Walker seemed to exist to offset the stereotype of hotshot action heroes. Instead of brushing off gushing fans, Walker always appeared patient and acted generously with his time. As a result, he left a lasting impression on all those who met him, the Uphams especially. 

When the couple spoke to the actor, they noticed that he seemed visibly changed after learning of Kyle's service record. Accustomed perhaps to the appreciation of strangers, the two, again, thought nothing of it. Eventually, they left the store without a ring, given they couldn't find one within their budget. Then one of the store clerks rushed out after them with a gift bag. 

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Vin Diesel, Paul Walker (2001), (Universal/Getty Images)

Unable to spend thousands of dollars on an engagement ring, the Uphams had tabled their search when they realized most of the selection in the store was beyond their budget. 

When the two had arrived, Kyle Upham was determined to find the perfect ring, despite the price tag. "He kept saying, 'Go bigger,' and I kept saying, 'No, look at the prices,'" Kristen said, recalling the day. So the couple ended up leaving without purchasing anything, even though a $9,000 band had caught their eye. This was the moment Walter seemingly intervened. 

The actor, inspired perhaps by Kyle's service, purchased the ring unbeknownst to the Uphams. The couple had mentioned Kyle's deployments in passing, not realizing the impact it would have on Walker. "When we were talking, we exchanged names and talked about what each of us did," Kyle said, remembering the almost average exchange. "And when he found out [my husband] just came back from Iraq — I remember seeing the look in his face," Kristen said. "He kind of transformed."

However, Walker didn't mention Kyle's service at the time or even let on to what he was about to do. After their casual exchange, the three simply parted ways. The Uphams left the store empty-handed shortly after that. When an employee ran after them, the couple didn't immediately connect Walker to the act of altruism.  

Kristen recalled the moment:

"One of the ladies came out holding a bag and just said, 'Here's your ring.' I think both of our mouths dropped."

Paul Walker (2009), (Steve Granitz/WireImage/getty images)

Curious about their good fortune, the couple kept the gift receipt. The Uphams figured the boutique employees had pooled money together for their ring. However, when the Uphams asked who had purchased the pricey band for them, the staffers remained tight-lipped. Instead, they had simply smiled and insisted that it was better kept a secret. It wasn't until one employee broke ranks and revealed the story on the Monday night news that the case of the mysterious benefactor was solved. It was then that the Uphams learned that Walker had been the one to purchase the ring. 

Walker, who had broken into Hollywood in 2001 with his first appearance in the "Fast & Furious" series, usually spent his money on cars befitting of his character. He owned a Rolls-Royce Ghost, Maserati Quattroporte, Ferrari Testarossa, and dozens of other hotrods. Unfortunately, the car fanatic tragically passed away in a single-car collision in 2013. The accident left fans devastated. More than merely a fictional car thief, Walker was truly a part of the franchise's family. Walker would appear posthumously as a digital rendering in "Furious 7." 

To the Uphams, Walker would always be remembered for this great act of kindness. "It's still to this day the most generous thing anyone has ever done for me," Kristen said, remembering that day in Santa Barbara. 

She continued, noting how the ring reflected on Walker's character, having said:

"His real-life speaks volumes of hicharacter...He really did put his money where his mouth is and did good for this world."

What was your favorite "Fast & Furious" movie? Let us know — and be sure to pass this article on to friends, family, and fellow Paul Walker fans!

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