Rebel with a cause: Rejuvenated Cooper here to help
Quade Cooper couldn't just walk past him like everyone else was.
The former Wallaby had been "buzzing" from the moment he moved to Melbourne, given the chance to resume a rugby career he was denied for all of 2018 in Queensland.
Cooper was the highest paid club rugby player in Australia last year as he plied his trade for Souths in Brisbane having been ostracised by Reds coach Brad Thorn.
It was a humbling time for Cooper, the one-time golden boy of Australian rugby who, at just 30, had been told to take a seat.
But rather than feel diminished, Cooper used his time away from the big time to learn and to grow, as a player and as a person.
Cooper got perspective; on rugby, and on life.
So earlier this month, when Cooper was out shopping with a friend and saw someone on the street who needed his help, he couldn't just walk past him.
"I saw him sitting on the footpath, and people were just walking past and looking down at him like he was a piece of trash," Cooper said.
"It kind of hit me, and a lot of people go through hard times. I know my situation was a lot different, I was still getting paid for one, but a guy like that, just asking for a little bit of money or food, and people were walking right around him.
"I just went in to the shop, got some food and a drink, and gave him a little bit of money. The reaction from him was what I enjoyed. He just looked at me and said "thank you, really, thank you".
"For me, it was an easy thing to do. I felt like I made a little difference in that man's life for a day. You appreciate what you have, getting to play the game you love, getting paid pretty well, I knew that it would make me appreciate it a little bit more."
The video, which Cooper didn't know was being taken by a friend from New Zealand, went viral on social media.
It was just days before he made his debut for the Rebels, a near best-on-ground effort in his team's win over the Brumbies in Canberra. Both efforts were equal in Cooper's world view.
"For me it's about focusing on the bigger picture and not letting a result of a game or something like that control my happiness and my life," he said.
The helping hand act wasn't a one-off either. Cooper has two dogs, which are still in Brisbane with his parents. One of them, Riddick, was a rescue dog.
"He'd been mistreated and this lady had adopted him. He had some issues," Cooper said.
"But when I took Chuck to see him, they were inseparable. It was like they had been born out of the same litter. They are caring dogs. I miss them a fair bit."
Cooper doesn't miss Brisbane though. He and Melbourne, for now, seem a perfect match.
He decided to join the Rebels after coach Dave Wessels flew to Brisbane to convince him. Cooper was so enamoured with the young mentor, he drove Wessels to the airport after their chat.
Wessels said that gesture helped seal the deal on the player. The player said he did it because he was sold on the coach, and because he liked him after their warts and all chat.
"I spoke to him about football and my views of the game, and they were things I feel like challenged him, things he hadn't thought too much about," Cooper told the Herald Sun ahead of the Rebels' first home game of the season.
"Then he talked to me about how he sees the game, and said things I hadn't thought about either."
Cooper is renowned for having as high a rugby IQ as not just any player, but any coach. His views on the game include involving everyone in everything.
"I have been a part of teams where if you are a forward, or lock, they were told their job was to hit rucks," he said.
"I guarantee you none of them started playing the game to hit rucks. Everyone plays the game because they want to score tries, they want to throw passes."
It's a playing philosophy that bodes well for a Rebels team chock-full of talent, and keen to, not on the back of Cooper but with him playing a significant role, finally make the Super Rugby finals.
"We always talk about plus one, each day," he said.
"Last year we finished ninth, so it's about plus one. We come in each day, work a little bit harder chip away on getting better.
"We've got a good bunch of guys who are willing to work hard and get better, and those little steps each day become a massive step at the end of the year."