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TORONTO — Hard work pays off as one Toronto coffee shop has proven following its hilarious efforts to meet Tom Hanks.
Joelle Murray, owner of Grinder coffee in Toronto’s Leslieville neighbourhood, embarked on a 10-day social media campaign during the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) to woo the two-time Oscar winner into her east-end café.
She posted photos of her and a life-size cardboard cutout of Hanks riding the subway, grabbing a slice of pizza and even getting inked at a tattoo parlour.
A bit overboard? Maybe. But after successfully wooing Ryan Gosling last year using similar tactics, the odds of Hanks – who was attending TIFF to promote his new movie ‘A Beautiful Day in the Neighbourhood’ – were pretty good.
In a scene straight out of a movie, an employee was mopping up the closed store last Friday when he heard a knock at the door and saw someone pointing at the cutout. It took a moment for him to register the visitor was Hanks himself.
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Day 10 and the final day of our #tomneedsgrinder campaign. @tomhanks posted a photo our #littleshopthatcould on his Instagram. We can't be more thrilled. #bff . While Joelle LOVED the phone call, next time dinner and drinks, ok? #wedidit #howawesome #wow #tomhanks #Toronto
Hanks chatted up staff and posed for photos with his own likeness alongside a sign reading #TomNeedsGrinder.
Meanwhile, Murray was at home eating dinner when she got a call from work. Assuming there was a problem, she wearily picked up the phone.
When she realized Hanks was on the other end of the line, Murray was so shocked she started cursing.
“I just actually couldn’t believe it was Tom Hanks at the shop,” she said. “I get stunned that my shenanigans actually work.”
Murray said Hanks extended his compliments to Murray on the creativity of the campaign, although he wished she used a better photo for the cutout.
“He said, ‘A lot of people ask me for a lot of things, but nobody has done it as clever as you have,’” said Murray. “That was a real feather in my cap.”
Hanks joked that Grinder Coffee should extend its business hours, Murray said. She told him she could be at the shop in 20 minutes, but Hanks said he couldn’t stick around, so she proposed they meet up later for drinks.
As much as she would have liked to meet Hanks in person, Murray said she didn’t take offence when he turned down the offer.
“I’m a one-woman entrepreneur with about four staff. We’re not a big conglomerate,” Murray said, adding that she ran the campaign on a hundred-dollar budget with the help of family and friends.
“For someone to take time out of his busy schedule to actually pay tribute to that … and actually appreciating all the funny humour behind it means a lot.”
With file from The Canadian Press