Dwayne Johnson Surprises Make-A-Wish Survivor at People’s Choice Awards

by Liz Holland
(Photo by Amy Sussman/Getty Images,)

Dwayne Johnson took the stage at the People’s Choice Awards on Tuesday. Johnson was given the honor of being named “The People’s Champion” at this years’ awards. In a heartwarming act, Johnson invited a Make-A-Wish survivor up to the stage and presented her with the award instead.

During Johnson’s speech, the actor explained he began calling himself “The People’s Champion” during his wrestling career. The nickname belonged to legend Muhammad Ali, who gave Johnson his blessing to use the name. 

“The last time I saw Muhammad, we were at a Make-A-Wish event, and we were both granting wishes. His last words to me were, ‘You keep rumbling.’ I was like ‘OK, thank you, champ.’” Johnson has continued to volunteer with the organization following Ali’s death in 2016. 

“What it means to be the people’s champion, champion of the people, is you treat people good,” Johnson explained. “You treat people kind, and you take care of people. You’re inclusive of people, all people, all colors, doesn’t matter.”

Dwayne Johnson Honors Make-A-Wish Survivor On Stage

Johnson called the Make-A-Wish teen onto the stage. He said,  “I met her earlier. I told her how inspired I was by her story. She is a survivor. She has fought literally for her life. She has inspired her family, her friends, now you guys here, now the world that is watching.” Johnson told the girl “you represent everything that it means to be a people’s champion.”

As Johnson handed the young girl his award, the girl said,  “This is crazy. Thank you so much to you and to Make-a-Wish.”

Acts like these continually show why Johnson truly is a champion of the people, always putting others first. Surprise presenter Jeff Bezos had kind things to say about Johnson as well. 

“His achievements are legend. His work ethic is unparalleled. He transcends all demographics. He is impossible not to like and he can sure put down a lot of pancakes,” Bezos said while introducing the actor. “But even with all that, the thing that really stands out the most? He’s kind. … You see, kindness is a choice. And what I admire most in Dwayne is his choice to show unwavering kindness to everyone around him.”

A True Peoples’ Champion

As Johnson left the stage, he shared words he once heard from Muhammad Ali.  “Service to others is the rent you pay for the room you have here on earth.” Johnson then added, “It’s nice to be important but it’s more important to be nice.”

Johnson joined a list of those receiving the honor alongside names like Christina Aguilera and Halle Berry. Jen Neal, EVP, Entertainment Live Events, Specials & E! News, NBCUniversal Entertainment Television and Streaming, made a statement to Deadline earlier this year about Johnson receiving the honor. “During a period where there has been a lot of uncertainty, Johnson has displayed an uncanny ability to raise spirits and make people smile despite circumstances,” the statement said. “His philanthropic efforts and international social media presence have made him a cultural leader and inspiration to many, making him the perfect recipient for ‘The People’s Champion’ award this year.”