'She is a survivor, she has fought literally for her life, she has inspired her family [and] friends,' Johnson said at the 2021 People's Choice Awards on Tuesday.
Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson this week proved exactly why he's worthy of the title "People's Champ." According to PEOPLE, on Tuesday, the actor was honored with the People's Champion Award at the 2021 People's Choice Awards for his numerous philanthropic efforts and contributions to the entertainment industry. Presenting the award to Johnson, Jeff Bezos said: "His achievements are legend. His work ethic is unparalleled. He transcends all demographics. He is impossible not to like and he can sure put down a lot of pancakes. But even with all that, the thing that really stands out the most? He's kind... You see, kindness is a choice. And what I admire most in Dwayne is his choice to show unwavering kindness to everyone around him."
Accepting the award from Bezos, Johnson paid a moving tribute to the late Muhammad Ali. "I want to thank my good friend Jeff, my drinking buddy," he said, before recalling his last meeting with Ali at an event for the Make-a-Wish Foundation. "For those who may know or for those who may not know, the original people’s champion was the greatest of all time, Muhammad Ali," the "Red Notice" star said. "I first met Muhammad when I was a little boy and he was so cool to me. He was so kind and he was so funny. He was always wonderful to me."
Congratulations to @WWE icon @TheRock on earning the People's Champion Award and being named Male Movie Star of the Year and Comedy Movie Star of the Year at the 2021 People's Choice Awards! @THR https://t.co/OoBRr5wDVP— WWE Public Relations (@WWEPR) December 8, 2021
"Years later to be standing here with you guys, you voted me the People's Champion, this irony is not lost on me because I realize that what it means to be the People's Champion is so much bigger than me. You treat people good, you treat people kind. You take care of people. You're inclusive of people, all people, all colors, it doesn't matter," Johnson continued, reports ET Canada. "The last time I saw Muhammad, we were at a Make-a-Wish event and we were both granting wishes. His last words to me were, 'You keep rumbling.'"
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson did a very champ-like gesture while receiving the "People’s Champion Award" at the 2021 People's Choice Awards on Tuesday.https://t.co/pWt6KMq0O9— GMA News (@gmanews) December 8, 2021
Johnson then gave a shout-out to a teen girl named Shushana who was in the audience as a Make-a-Wish recipient. Inviting her up on stage, he said: "Being here tonight with us and with you guys, this is her wish. She has no idea I'm doing this. This is a total surprise. I met her earlier. I told her how inspired I was by her story. She is a survivor, she has fought literally for her life, she has inspired her family [and] friends. I want to tell you just how much you've inspired me and everyone around you and certainly everyone here. I want to give you this because you represent everything that it means to be a People's Champion so this is for you."
Wiping our tears away because @therock just dedicated his People's Choice Award to Shushana, a @makeawish recipient. They are OUR champions! pic.twitter.com/EAQKmj5jN1— People's Choice (@peopleschoice) December 8, 2021
The star then read out a famous quote from Ali that goes: "The service to others is the rent you pay for the room you have here on earth," before handing Shushana the microphone to say a few words. In visible shock, the teen said: "First, thank you for this. I didn't expect this at all. But, I mean, thank you to Make-a-Wish in general. I just never expected that something [like this] could happen. This is crazy." Before leaving the stage, Johnson shared these parting words: "It's nice to be important but it's more important to be nice."