Coffee Shop Hangs Up Famous Celeb Cutout, He Shows Up in the Flesh After Seeing Their Photos


When I was a sophomore in college, my roommate was dating a girl from another school, a girl who was several states away. This was in the days when long distance phone charges were a thing, so it was more difficult to stay in touch.

So he came up with a fun way to keep communicating. He swiped one of her childhood stuffed toys while visiting, a tiny puppy named Pat.

Then he proceeded to take pictures of Pat and send them to her. Pat traveled all over campus, out into the country, and even into The Windy City itself, which was about an hour away.

They eventually married and had three lovely little girls, so I suppose that his gambit worked. And a similar stunt paid off for the owner of a small coffee shop in East Toronto.

Every year, celebrities descend on the Queen City for the Toronto International Film Festival. According to Today, Joelle Murray of Grinder Coffee decided in 2017 that it might be fun to see if she could get a movie star to stop by.

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It also could give her business a bit of a boost. There was just one problem: Murray didn’t have a massive marketing budget.

So she started a silly social media campaign to see if she could get Idris Elba (“Pacific Rim,” “Luther”) to show up. She put a picture of Elba’s face on a Popsicle stick and urged customers to take a selfie with him.

But it didn’t work. When the Festival rolled around, Elba decided he didn’t need a cup of Grinder’s joe.

Have you ever done anything over-the-top in order to meet a celebrity?

Undeterred, Murray gave it another go in 2018, and this year her target was Ryan Gosling (“La La Land,” “Blade Runner 2049”). The #ryanneedsgrinder campaign started on Sept. 3 and Murray perched a cardboard cutout of Gosling in the coffee shop with an espresso cup in his pressed-paper hand.

Elle reported that Murray started simply enough, but soon became more and more delightfully outlandish. By day four of the campaign, patrons were enjoying chocolate chip cookies with cardboard Gosling and enjoying tête-à-têtes with him.

Murray tucked him in a bed to get a nap on day six. “Tomorrow is the big #firstman #tiff premiere,” she wrote, referencing Gosling’s new film about Neil Armstrong.

On day eight, she took him out for drinks at a local bar to celebrate the movie’s premiere. By this point, even Murray herself seemed to recognize the ridiculous lengths to which she was taking things.

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“Listen #ryangosling, this is getting weird,” she said. “We need the Real Ryan to show up so we can show him our Grinder hospitality.”

And you know what? He actually did on September 11.

“I pounced upon him with pure love and admiration,” Murray told the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. “He was an incredibly great sport.”

It turned out that Gosling had indeed seen the tweets and found them funny. What really convinced him to come, though, was a prod from his mother.

“He made it seem that he enjoyed meeting me as much as I enjoyed meeting him,” Murray said. “And it was a lovely feeling. He was very well-spoken, a wonderful Canadian boy with very good manners.”

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A graduate of Wheaton College with a degree in literature, Loren also adores language. He has served as assistant editor for Plugged In magazine and copy editor for Wildlife Photographic magazine.
A graduate of Wheaton College with a degree in literature, Loren also adores language. He has served as assistant editor for Plugged In magazine and copy editor for Wildlife Photographic magazine. Most days find him crafting copy for corporate and small-business clients, but he also occasionally indulges in creative writing. His short fiction has appeared in a number of anthologies and magazines. Loren currently lives in south Florida with his wife and three children.
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