George H.W. Bush is sporting a new look. The 89-year-old former president shaved his head this week.
No, he wasn't trying to project a hip, young image. Bush decided to go bald to show solidarity for a 2-year-old boy named Patrick who lost his hair as he underwent treatment for leukemia.
Patrick is the son of a member of Bush's Secret Service detail. Bush noticed this week that the members of his security team had all suddenly shaved their heads, and he asked why. When they told him that they were showing support for Patrick, Bush called for the clippers, too.
A Bush spokesman, Jim McGrath, posted a photo of Bush and Patrick on Twitter:
41 shaved his head this week to show his solidarity w Patrick, the 2 year-old son of a member of his security detail. pic.twitter.com/XimZcTwEyi— Jim McGrath (@jgm41) July 24, 2013
And here's one of the entire security detail in Kennebunkport, Maine:
41 poses with the members of his Secret Service detail who have also shaved their head to support little Patrick. pic.twitter.com/u9GBtttAOI— Jim McGrath (@jgm41) July 24, 2013
Patrick's family and friends were thrilled. "Our little guy received some high-powered support this week when President George Bush 41 volunteered to shave his head to show his support for Patrick and Patrick’s Pals," reads a statement on the Patrick's Pals website.
Understandably, the internet is bursting with praise for the 41st president. David Jackson of USA Today called the snapshots the "photos of the year."
Julie Evans Ryan at The Stir agreed. "I don't care what your political point of view is, you can't help but love former President George H.W. Bush for this," she says.
While it won't cure Patrick, it's one of those small gestures that surely means a huge amount to the boy's family. Often when we learn people are dealing with something like this, we don't know what to do to show our support and sometimes find ourselves doing nothing. But for families suffering, knowing they have support and that people are thinking of them is often what they need most. [The Stir]
Praise came in from all sides. The White House tweeted its support, as did another former president, Bill Clinton:
This is certainly a cause Bush and his wife, Barbara, understand. They lost their daughter Robin to leukemia at age 4 in 1953.
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- The science of sex: 4 harsh truths about dating and mating
- How our botched understanding of 'science' ruins everything
- 6 things the happiest families all have in common
- Why so many Christians won't back down on gay marriage
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
- California's epic drought
- Russia is stealthily threatening America with nuclear war
- How to be the star of a cocktail party where you don't know anyone
Subscribe to the Week