Tom Hanks surprises coffee shop that campaigned for him to visit during TIFF
Tom Hanks is seen in this photo with a Grinder Coffee shop employee on Sept. 6. (Supplied)
A coffee shop employee who worked at the store campaigning for Tom Hanks to stop by when he was in town for the Toronto International Film Festival was shocked when the actor knocked on the door last night as he was closing up.
Joelle Murray, the owner of Grinder Coffee in Leslieville, launched a grassroots social media campaign in an effort to sway the American actor and Oscar winner to come to the store.
She launched the campaign after successfully convincing Canadian actor Ryan Gosling to visit during last year’s TIFF.
“One of my staff was here mopping up because we close at six,” Murray told CTV News Toronto in a phone interview.
“But then he heard a knock on the door around 7 p.m. and saw some guy pointing to himself and pointing at the cardboard cutout of Tom Hanks.”
“When he walked closer to the door he saw it was in fact Tom Hanks.”
Murray said her employee immediately unlocked the door and let Hanks in.
“I was having pizza with my friends and my phone rings and thought ‘oh no, what’s wrong?’”
“I pick up the phone and I hear ‘Hey, it’s Tom.’”
“He actually called me.”
“He apologized for coming after hours. He said he just got into town and wanted to make sure he came by.”
“I told him I could be there in 20 minutes but he said he had to leave.”
“Then I told him I was free for drinks but he brushed that off.”
On Aug. 31, Murray launched the campaign to lure Hanks to her store. The first post to Instagram featured a cardboard cutout of Hanks outside the coffee shop, holding a Grinder coffee-themed mug with the caption “welcome Tom Hanks for what is going to be a fun ride.”
On the third day of the campaign, the coffee shop’s Instagram page features a photo of the Hanks cutout alongside Murray, who is standing on a giant piano—an homage to the film “Big.”
Murray said that she has received a lot of support from other local businesses in the area as well as customers. She told CTV News Toronto that someone showed up at her coffee shop one day with a suitcase that they thought looked like the prop used in “Forest Gump.”
Murray’s first campaign was in 2017, when she invited Idris Elba to stop by while he was at TIFF for his film “Molly’s Game.” While Elba did not show up, it didn’t discourage Murray, who launched a similar campaign the following year in hopes of getting Gosling to come by.
She never actually expected him to show.
“It was a total shock,” she said. “I would have chosen my words better because when media started calling me, I was like ‘I can’t tell you what I said because I swore.”
Murray said she’s now thinking about who will be the target of next year’s campaign but hasn’t decided yet.
“I don’t know who’s next,” she said.
“The criteria is who will be here for TIFF and who do I want to have coffee with
“But maybe next year the stars will be asking me to come with them to TIFF!”