"Hi! I'm Tom:" My Meeting With A Personal Hero

By: Megan Minutillo, Guest Blogger

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Photo by Aaron Vincent Elkaim/Canadian Press

 

Sleepless in Seattle. Forrest Gump. You’ve Got Mail. Philadelphia. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Tom Hanks is one of the most influential artists in my life, and again, that’s just hitting the tip of the iceberg.

I’ve wanted to be a part of the theater and film industries for as long as I can remember; my college entrance essay was actually an Oscar Acceptance speech where I concluded by thanking Ron Howard. Yes, I was that kid. I was the kid who admired the greats, I didn’t really care what was “cool,” and I just knew what I liked. Tom Hanks, well, he’s one of those people. He’s one of the greats. He’s one of those people whom I’ve admired, someone who’s inspired me, someone’s who motivated me through his work. His films have provided comfort, ignited creativity, and helped me focus on the goals that I set for myself.

So, perhaps you can imagine what was going on in my brain when I met Mr. Tom Hanks…in the flesh. In addition to writing, directing, and teaching, I run an arts education, and entertainment website called The Write Teacher(s); one of the components of the site is a Q&A Series in which I interview various actors, actresses, musicians, and other movers and shakers in the education and arts industries. Brian Dykstra, a cast member of Lucky Guy, was kind enough to participate in a Q&A when the show was rehearsing. Naturally, I went to support him and see the show once it had opened, and Brian, being the gem that he is, took us backstage.

Enter Tom Hanks.

Aw hell, enter the whole cast of Lucky Guy on Broadway. (They were all amazing, welcoming, and gracious.) But, Tom Hanks is what truly threw me for a loop.

For there are moments in ones life when they are lucky enough to meet a hero. Your heart starts to race, the butterflies in your stomach start to flutter, and you think – Oh. My. Goodness. Will they be everything I’ve always imagined? Are they as great as everyone makes them out to be? Will the reality of the person match the public persona?

In the case of Tom Hanks, I can assure you, he is that kind. He is that warm. He is that amazing onstage as is he onscreen. There is a reason why he is one of the greats.

As I stood with my family in the stairway of the Broadhurst Theater in New York City, chatting with Brian Dykstra and other members of the Lucky Guy cast, the one and only Tom Hanks approached me. I have no doubt that he recognized my palpable awe and wonder, and he introduced himself.

How did this happen, you may ask?

Well, he simply said: “Hi, I’m Tom.”

Perhaps my career will allow me to cross paths with Tom Hanks once again. Perhaps that will be the only time that I meet this great, magnanimous, living legend. Only time will tell. But I do know this – heroes, well, they do exist. People can live up to your expectations. And always remember, that no matter who you are, no matter what your career choice is, no matter what path in life you may chose – you are someone’s hero. So remember that when you’re making your decisions, so that you may be proud of what you do and who you are, and so that others may celebrate all that is the greatness of you.

About Megan: Megan Minutillo is a playwright, director, and founder of the arts and education site, The Write Teacher(s). Her articles have appeared in HelloGiggles, So Worth Loving, I Am the Modern Career Girl, and Glass Heel. She is currently at work adapting her show, Ghosts in My Vodka, into a musical.

 

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