Actor Omari Hardwick in 2015
Michael Loccisano/Getty Images

They say that when you make it, you should be sure to send the elevator back down for those who are trying to come up, too.

Power actor Omari Hardwick is incredibly grateful to Denzel Washington and his entire family for looking out for him when he was a struggling actor.

During an interview with The Real co-host Loni Love, Hardwick said that he got introduced to the family through Washington's son John David, and the Washington family was nothing but gracious to him during some pretty trying times in his life.

"They gave me shelter when I didn't have a place to stay or whatever, but they sort of allowed me to be close enough to the family, so I sort of transitioned into getting an agent […] doing all these odd jobs," Hardwick explained. 

Some of those odd jobs included being a substitute teacher, a high school football coach and a part-time firefighter. Hardwick was a teacher and a coach at John David's high school and then trained him at UCLA, which, Hardwick describes, "gave me an inroads to this sort of avuncular figure in Denzel and an aunt figure in Pauletta."

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Hardwick quit all of his odd jobs, thinking that an acting gig was going to pan out. When it didn't, he was broke.

"Pauletta Washington paid for my car to not be taken back," Hardwick said, saying that she got the OK from her husband.

And here is where the story comes full circle: when Hardwick, now a successful actor, sent them a check to repay them for their generosity.

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"When I paid him that check back, it was big. They framed that check, of me paying that back."

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Diana Ozemebhoya Eromosele is a staff writer at The Root and the founder and executive producer of Lectures to Beats, a Web series that features video interviews with scarily insightful people. Follow Lectures to Beats on Facebook and Twitter.

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