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Dad Goes Viral With Sweet Story About How Paul Reubens Helped Him Through His Bitter Divorce

Mario Alejandro shared his touching story on X (formerly known as Twitter) about how the late actor stepped in to brighten his and his young daughter's lives after learning they were Pee-wee Herman fans.

Mario Alejandro with his daughter; Paul Reubens
@BeisbolCardBlog/X, Mike Pont/WireImage/GettyImages

Hollywood continues to mourn the loss of comedic actor Paul Reubens–who was famous for his character, Pee-Wee Herman–following his death from cancer.

Tributes from his close industry friends–including Cassandra Peterson, a.k.a. Elvira, Mistress of the Dark–have shared fond memories of the affable and quirky comedian and expressed how wonderful of a person he was.

Among those honoring Reubens and mentioning his kindness was also a father who shared a story about the late actor reaching out to him during a difficult time involving a custody battle and a contentious divorce from his wife.

The emotional post penned by Mario Alejandro went viral on X–the platform formerly known as Twitter.

"In 2013, I was going through a nasty divorce and bitter custody battle," said Alejandro.

"My ex-wife took our home, and I had to move into a motel temporarily."
"To make matters worse, she wouldn't let me see our daughter except once a weekend in exchange for 'child support.'"
"During those weekends, I spent every waking minute taking my daughter all over Sarasota, never knowing when I'd be able to see her again."
"At nights, we'd binge on #PeeWeeHerman for months until she became the world's youngest Pee Wee fan."

Reubens developed the whimsical, childlike character of Pee-Wee while performing with the LA-based comedy troupe, The Groundlings.

In 1981, the character was featured on stage with, The Pee-Wee Herman Show, which became a massive success after it led to an HBO special.

The popularity of Pee-Wee spawned a franchise to eventually include the Emmy-winning children's series, Pee-Wee's Playhouse which ran on CBS from 1986 to 1991, and three feature films including Pee-Wee's Big Adventure, Big Top Pee-Wee, and Pee-Wee's Big Holiday.

After gaining full custody of his daughter in 2014, Alejandro reached out to Reubens on Facebook and thanked him for:

"Making my childhood so much fun and for helping my daughter and I through hard times."

What the dad didn't expect was hearing back from the iconic comedian with a heartfelt response.

Alejandro continued:

"Shockingly, he responded with an inspirational message and asked me for my phone number. Honestly, I was terrified, but I gave it to him."
"The next day, Paul called, and we talked for 10 minutes about the divorce, my job, my daughter, and of course, his amazing work."
"He asked me to save his number and to call him next month as he was going out of town for a few weeks."

Reubens extended his kindness with a gesture Alejandro and his daughter would never forget.

"A month later, I gave him a call, and amazingly, Paul Reubens invited us to his mother's home in Sarasota."
"He met my daughter, who was only 3 and showed us props from his show and movies and even fed us juice and snacks by his private lake where my daughter chased ducks."
"We didn't want to overstay our welcome so we left within the hour but I will never forget the day my daughter and I got to hang out with the person who showed us just how fun even the most mundane activities could be with a little imagination."

Alejandro concluded the post by thanking the late actor, followed by heart and prayer emojis.

His story went viral with over 5 million views and over 54 thousand likes.

Alejandro posted an update in response to a commenter who was moved by his story and he shared a photo of him and his daughter now.

"Today is a very sad day," he said of Reubens' passing.

"Was always hoping my soon to be teenage daughter would have a chance to meet Paul."

Reubens was diagnosed with cancer six years ago but kept it private.

He addressed his illness in a statement to be shared on his social media pages after his passing.

It read:

"Please accept my apology for not going public with what I’ve been facing the last six years."
"I have always felt a huge amount of love and respect from my friends, fans and supporters."
"I have loved you all so much and enjoyed making art for you."

Reubens died on July 30, 2023 at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.

He was 70.