World-renowned physicist and cosmologist, Stephen Hawking, died age 76 on Wednesday.
Since his death people have been sharing a lil’ story about Hawking’s one big regret in life.
You see, when Hawking wasn’t vastly changing our perceptions of space and time, he like to, well, he like to run over people’s toes with his wheelchair.
More specifically, he enjoyed running over the toes of people he didn’t like with his wheelchair.
And there’s one person he never got the chance to, erm, run over.
The anecdote about his “special hobby” was first published in his biography, Stephen Hawking: An Unfettered Mind, written by Kitty Ferguson.
It was later retold by Marlow Stern in a 2014 Daily Beast article.
In a fun aside, during this period, Hawking would enjoy running over the toes of people he didn’t like with his wheelchair. So in 1976, when Hawking was invited to attend Prince Charles’s induction into the Royal Society, he gave him the business. “The prince was intrigued by Hawking’s wheelchair, and Hawking, twirling it around to demonstrate its capabilities, carelessly ran over Prince Charles’s toes,” according to the biography Stephen Hawking: An Unfettered Mind. “One of Hawking’s regrets in life was not having an opportunity to run over Margaret Thatcher’s toes.”
It’s now doing the rounds on Twitter and people are bloody loving it.
one of my favorite things about stephen hawking is that he was mean to all the right people pic.twitter.com/7jd3vLp5ql
— Ashley Feinberg (@ashleyfeinberg) March 14, 2018
Rest In Power pic.twitter.com/8YxVAAjaEa
— Bracket Genius (@lib_crusher) March 14, 2018
My 13-year-old, who adores Hawking and has read all of Lucy Hawking’s books, said “He should have named his wheelchair the toe crusher.” Should be noted that this mom uses a wheelchair and has, indeed, crushed some toes in her path.
— ????️Dani ♿/#NEVERAGAIN (@ThatRealDani) March 14, 2018
In another obit I saw a classroom he was notorious for “erratic driving” so I assume that journalist had their foot run over more than once :)
— L’égrégore André ꕭꕬ (@MabandeOpenBeta) March 14, 2018
As told in the 2014 film The Theory of Everything, Hawking was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) at 21, and was not expected to live past his 25th birthday.
Apart from being a brilliant mind, Hawking was also a father to three children – Robert, Lucy and Timothy – who he raised with his first wife, Jane.
And while Hawking’s brain may have worked on an academic level some of us can only dream of, he regularly gave his kids the type of advice one can expect from any father.
Speaking to ABC News‘ Diane Sawyer in 2010, Hawking was asked what words of wisdom he had passed down to his children.
“Here are the most important pieces of advice” he said.
“One, remember to look up at the stars and not down at your feet.
“Two, never give up work. Work gives you meaning and purpose and life is empty without it.
“Three, if you are lucky enough to find love, remember it is rare and don’t throw it away.”
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