At first, it seemed like it was the rich gifting the rich. But when George Clooney's BFF Rande Gerber revealed that the actor had gifted 14 friends $1 million each (including the taxes paid on the cash), he mentioned that some of the recipients had been normal dudes who had just happened to help ol' George along the way. Call them lucky.
Gerber told MSNBC’s Headliners:
“There’s a group of guys that we call ‘The Boys.’ George had called me and ‘The Boys’ and said, ‘Hey, mark September 27, 2013 on your calendar. Everyone’s going to come to my house for dinner."
The group arrived at Clooney’s home to find black designer luggage bags at each place setting on the table, and when instructed to open, there sat “a million dollars in 20 dollar bills."
“George begins to say, ‘Listen, I want you guys to know how much you’ve meant to me and how much you mean to me in my life," Gerber said. “‘I came to LA, I slept on your couch. I’m so fortunate in my life to have all of you and I couldn’t be where I am today without all of you. So, it was really important to me that while we’re still all here together, that I give back. So I want you all to open your suitcases'...Every one of us — 14 of us — got a million dollars. Every single one of us. We’re in shock ... He goes, ‘I know we’ve all been through some hard times, some of you are still going through it. You don’t have to worry about your kids, you don’t have to worry about, you know, school, you don’t have to worry about paying your mortgage. I’m just going to make one announcement. If Rande doesn’t take the million dollars, nobody gets it.”
Gerber is married to Cindy Crawford and a part-owner of Casamigos Tequila Company with Clooney, and is wealthy in his own right. He donated the money to charity.
You may think big deal. What's $14 million to George Clooney? But it's very generous. And it's in cash, so it's basically worth double. But would taking the gift change the relationship between the guys and George? Here's how to stay classy and take the cash.
Etiquette expert Diane Gottsman says that if Randy is uncomfortable taking the money, but also knows other people could benefit sincerely from the gift, he should take it and donate it to a very worthy charity. (Just like he did.)
"I sincerely doubt, however, that George Clooney would penalize people truly in need because one of his friends with means refuses the money," Gottsman says. "In that case I would use Randy's portion and donate it to a worthy cause in his name."
Most importantly?" Always accept a gift in the spirit in which it was given," advises Gottsman.
"I would also say, that it’s a generous gift because George Clooney has the budget," she adds. "However, there are other ways to show support, appreciation and gratitude. When you have it, meaning money, it’s easier to gift then when you are struggling with a tight budget. And there is no need to reciprocate dollar for dollar. True loyalty and friendship does not have a price point."
Although no one would believe it's the case with George Clooney, generous gift givers often tend to suffer from low self-esteem, say psychologists, and use big presents as a way to keep friends, which can become uncomfortable for both parties in the friendship. Forbes advises that the best way to gift good pals is to pay their rent/mortgage, pay tuition for their kids, start a college fund, employ them, or give them small bundles of cash.
Some people are just too proud to accept help, so if you are in a position to help without making your pals feel uncomfortable, try GivingAnonymously.com, where you can give someone money without revealing who you are.
But, back to George. He's got the cash, he's a generous guy who happens to be a world famous movie star; if you're lucky enough to be his friend, take the money and run. George will likely never even mention it again. Which is the true way to give a gift.
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