Tom Hanks surprises Girl Scouts

Courtesy of Archana Appanna
Anushka Srinivasan, from left, Claire Chen and Addyson Andrade, all fifth-graders at Bullis Charter School, sell cookies to movie star Tom Hanks in downtown Los Altos.

Girl Scouts selling cookies on State Street in downtown Los Altos received an unexpected surprise Feb. 28 when a bona fide movie star not only bought cookies, but also tried to help the girls sell more boxes to other passersby.

Tom Hanks, a Hollywood legend – and Bay Area native – who has appeared in some of the biggest blockbusters of the past 25 years, purchased four boxes, donated an additional $20 and offered to have his photo taken with people who recognized him – as long as they bought cookies, too.

“I’m still on cloud nine,” said Archana Appanna, whose daughter was one of the three Scouts selling cookies that Saturday. “We did not know who he was (at first) because he covered his face with a baseball cap and glasses.”

But Appanna and the girls soon saw through the disguise. They left their post and rushed up to Hanks as he was walking away, catching up to him in front of Linden Tree Books.

“Are you Tom Hanks?” came the question.

“Yes,” he answered.

Once discovered, picture taking began, initially with Hanks and the girls. But another family walked by, spotted Hanks and asked for a picture, too.

His reply? “Only if you buy cookies from these young ladies.”

Appanna, who grew up in India, said she loved some of Hanks’ biggest movies, including “You’ve Got Mail” and “Sleepless in Seattle.”

“He was so personable,” she marveled, “so down to earth.”

Hanks, accompanied by his college-age son, Truman, was in town to visit the typewriter shop, Los Altos Business Machines, at 100 State St. Truman is a freshman at Stanford University. It turns out that Hanks is a big typewriter collector. He initially went to the store to have his son’s typewriter repaired, but he ended up buying two vintage Smith-Coronas.

John Sansone, owner of the typewriter store, did not immediately recognize Hanks until he heard him speak.

“I never realized how distinctive his voice is,” he said. “It was right out of a movie.”

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