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Boston Man Who Started Robin Williams Memorial Returns To ‘Surreal’ Scene

By Jim Armstrong, WBZ-TV
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BOSTON (CBS) – The Brighton man who started what has become a giant memorial to Robin Williams in the Boston Public Garden now says he’s overwhelmed by how much it has caught on.

“This is so surreal, how many people have come out and actually cared about this,” said Nick Rabchenuk as he surveyed the scene Tuesday evening.

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On Monday night, after hearing about Williams’ death, Rabchenuk grabbed some flowers and some chalk and scratched out his favorite “Good Will Hunting” quote on the spot where Williams had his famous scene with actor Matt Damon.

Nick Rabchenuk created the memorial for Robin Williams in the Boston Public Garden. (WBZ-TV)

Nick Rabchenuk created the memorial for Robin Williams in the Boston Public Garden. (WBZ-TV)

Once he posted pictures of his handiwork online, they went viral. In just a day thousands of people had come to see the site for themselves. Many also left messages and quotes of their own.

“He just touched so many peoples’ lives with his wit and his candor, and just the way he approached everything in life,” offered Rabchenuk, as he tried to explain why his idea caught on so quickly.

Memorial at 'Good Will Hunting' bench in Boston Public Garden. (WBZ-TV)

Memorial at ‘Good Will Hunting’ bench in Boston Public Garden. (WBZ-TV)

Cindi DeRichie, a tourist from upstate New York, heard about the site during her visit and decided she had to see it firsthand. Once she arrived, she broke down in tears.

“It’s almost become sacred ground, which is kind of interesting to see when somebody dies or something happens,” she explained. “[Williams] is not there, he’s not buried there, but it kind of becomes a memorial and a shrine. And I think it’s amazing how we do that as part of our own grieving process.”

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