Between the commercials and previews for “Shrek 2” at the Regal 14 Union Square, a man in employee attire walked to the front of our theater and called us to attention. He explained that Regal is raising money for serious illnesses this summer, and that he, Tony, was living proof of the positive effects of this research.

“I was very, very sick,” Tony earnestly explained to the crowd, “and had it not been for expensive brain surgery, I wouldn’t be here today.”

From the fifth row a little girl’s hand shot up. Tony, excited for the interaction, called on her: “Yes?”

“I have a friend named Tony!”