There are very few Hollywood A-listers that are known for going above and beyond to thank fans for years of support. Tom Hanks is one of those celebs.
The Oscar winning actor has given us countless reasons to fall in love with him over his impressive career, from his incredible movies to making headlines for nice guy acts, like posing with a couple after accidentally crashing their wedding shoot. Now Hanks has again given us another reason to say ‘T.Hanks’ for being awesome.
Zena Gopal spends her days helping others as the Manager of St. Felix Centre in Toronto, a multi-service community centre that assists disadvantaged members of the community. After sending a letter to Hanks, the Sully actor turned the tables to help Gopal win a bet with her roommates.
In November, Gopal and her two roommates made a bet to see who could get a headshot from an actor the fastest. Noting his common practice of responding to fan mail and Gopal’s roomates’ love of Tom Hanks, the trio agreed to make Hanks the target. Gopal was the only one who followed through on the bet.
“When I wrote to him, I mentioned a few of his movies (including That Thing You Do!) that I love and then told him about the bet,” says Gopal. “I remember also saying that I hoped people have abandoned snail mail to tweet at him so that my letter would stand out!”
As an added joke, Gopal included the “most ridiculous picture” she had of herself, which included posing with a llama at the Royal Winter Fair in Toronto.
Earlier this week, Gopal was stunned when she received a letter back from the Academy Award winner.
Dated December 8, the letter was written on HANX letterhead using a typewriter, a favourite mode of communication for Hanks, and included a Polaroid of the actor holding Zena’s selfie. Sporting a beard in the picture, Hanks apologizes for his ‘whiskers,’ explaining it’s for an upcoming role.
In the lengthy and personal letter, Hanks discussed the increasing number of condos in Toronto as well as TIFF, and asked Zena whether she was ready for Christmas, cementing his status as everyone’s favourite movie dad.
Hanks ended the letter writing ‘Throw deep, always, Tom Hanks,’ a line inspired by Hanks love of NFL player Kenny Stabler.
Gopal shared the letter on her personal Facebook page. A co-worker then posted it to Reddit, with the image receiving almost 55,000 views in 24 hours.
At this point, Gopal doesn’t have any plans for future headshot bets. “I think I’m set in terms of headshots. I don’t think anything would be able to top this one.”
As for where she’s planning on displaying the piece of Hollywood history, Gopal is still deciding. “Everyone is telling me to frame the letter and picture which I think is the plan – it makes for a great talking piece!”
While Gopal doesn’t have a specific favourite Hanks movie, she does note one standout. “He’s so brilliant in everything he does. Forrest Gump will forever warm my heart though.”
Keep writing those letters, Tom.