y uncle Mort used to work at a drug store in Los Angeles. One day, in the middle of his shift, Tom Hanks walked in and bought a tube of toothpaste.
“He was a real class act," Mort told me. "He didn't try to cut the line or anything. He just got in the back and waited, like he was a regular person. I couldn't believe he was buying his own toothpaste! I figured a movie star like him would have someone to do that for him. But not Tom Hanks. He's just a down-to-earth kind of guy."
I spend a lot of time in Los Angeles and I hear a lot of stories about Tom Hanks. Everyone seems to have encountered him at some point in their lives. And everyone agrees: Hanks' "nice guy" reputation is well earned. Here are just a few of the anecdotes I've heard over the years.
"One time, I saw Tom Hanks at an Italian restaurant. I looked over and the guy was eating bread. Just putting pieces into his mouth and chewing them with his teeth, like a regular person. I figured a movie star like him would have someone to do that for him. Not Tom Hanks, though. Classiest guy on Earth."
“I drove Tom Hanks to the airport once. He was normal the whole ride. Didn't scream at me, or threaten my life. Craziest thing: He stayed in a seated position the entire time. No levitating. Classiest guy I've ever met."
“So I'm waiting outside the Paramount lot, hoping to see a celebrity, and out comes Tom Hanks. Just walking, using legs. So I say, 'Would you please sign my tee shirt?' Then I brace myself — you know, expecting him to vomit bile on me, out of disgust. But instead, he says, 'Sure,' and signs my shirt! Here's the craziest part: He used a pen. I figured he'd probably plunge a syringe into my chest and sign his name using blood from my heart. You know, to make a point about my comparative worthlessness and the expendability of my life. But no. He uses a regular pen. Like the kind you would find in a store. If there's a classier guy on Earth, I'd like to meet him.”
"I'm sitting on a bench with my family when Tom Hanks walks by on the sidewalk. I don't know what to say, so I just shout out, 'Hey, Tom!' And he stops! So I figure, okay, this is it; I'm going to die. He's going to take out a gun and shoot me point blank in the face, which, let's be honest, is exactly what I deserve. I mean, the guy has a million important things to do, and here I am, stopping his walking. At the very least, I figure he'll make love to my wife in front of me. You know, to prove a point about how the world is his and he can take what he wants and I'm just like an insect to him. But none of this transpires. Instead, he just smiles at me, and says, 'Hey.' Class act."
"I once saw Tom Hanks from across a crowded parking lot. Get this: The guy was wearing pants. Like, full pants. With a button and the zipper and everything. You don't have to believe me. But I swear that I'm telling you the truth.”