The soft side of The Rock

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On November 15th, 1998, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson was in trouble. He held himself up on one knee while Mankind, his leather-masked opponent, stuffed a dirty sock into his mouth. Thousands of wrestling fans roared in approval. The referee held up The Rock’s arms, which fell limp to the floor. Once. Twice. Thr–no, not yet.

The Rock stood up and reversed position, slamming Mankind on his back. He rolled over and submitted his sock-wielding adversary, winning his first of what would be 17 professional wrestling titles.

More than two decades later, no one could have guessed that the man known for his wildly-arched eyebrow and publicly-owned elbow — who always seemed to be cooking something and asking everyone about it — would be the highest-paid actor in Hollywood, singing happy birthday to a centenarian woman. But here we are.

On Marie Grover’s 100th birthday, Johnson surprised her with a special birthday message that quickly went viral.

Grover, who used to wear a sweatshirt of The Rock 25 years ago, cackled in delight as Johnson serenaded her. “Love you right back, you Rock, you,” she responded.

This is the latest example of what seems to be innumerable good deeds done by Hollywood’s biggest star. In 2006 he founded the Dwayne Johnson Rock Foundation focused on helping at-risk and terminally ill children. He’s been heavily involved with the Make-A-Wish Foundation for years, and he’s donated money to all sorts of causes, from hurricane relief to surgery for an abandoned dog. He also helped raise funds for the nonprofit Malama Kauai after the record-breaking floods in 2018.

Despite the hardness of his Hollywood moniker and endlessly muscled physique, The Rock has transcended his sock-gargling beginnings to become one of the most iconic and beloved celebrities in the world by embracing his soft side. Whether you have been a fan since WWE’s Attitude Era or just became one now after watching him sing happy birthday to Marie Grover, it’s hard not to feel the same way she did and love him right back.

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