Icon Luke Perry passed away from a devastating stroke at the age of 52 on Monday, March 4, 2019. Since that day, stories from the actor’s life have flooded social media. Family, friends, and fans alike agree with heavy hearts that he was taken way before his time. Everybody also agrees that Perry was a very kind soul: humble and joyful beyond the sometimes stony exterior that exemplified his teen heartthrob persona.
Tom Hanks’s son Colin Hanks has one story in particular, posted on Instagram, that paints the Beverly Hills, 90210 star as nothing short of a hero. The anecdote, in truly cinematic style, even takes place on a plane. Hanks never worked with Perry. In fact, they’d never met before this share-worthy encounter on a plane to the States from Mexico. “I only met him once,” Hanks wrote, on the day of Perry’s passing, “but the story is too good not [to] tell given today’s sad events.”
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The flight that the two Hollywood giants were sharing was, evidently, a bit of a nightmare. Two young brothers were on board, sitting a few rows in front of Hanks and his wife. Apparently, the brothers were hellbent on fighting.
“Their poor parents are powerless to stop the crying, yelling and screaming,” Hanks wrote. “If you’re a parent you understand. Sometimes there’s nothing you can do. It was like this for close to two hours.” Finally, having endured the madness for far too long, the formidable figure of Hollywood hunk Luke Perry, incognito, swept in from the first-class carriage to intervene. Hanks didn’t know it was him, at the time.
“About 10 minutes before landing it starts to get real bad,” Hanks continued. “Out of no where, a man comes from first class. Hat, beard, sunglasses, blowing up a balloon. He ties it off, hands it off like he’s holding out a sword to a king. Kneeling, Head down, arms up.” The other plane passengers, equally exhausted by the relentless soundtrack of screeching siblings, were transfixed. Mercifully, so were the children. “Kids calmed down in milliseconds,” Hanks shared.
“15 minutes longer and it probably would have started WWIII,” Hanks wrote, emulating the trademark good humor of his famous father. The passengers all but applauded, the kids finally sank into their seats, sated and occupied by Perry’s smart move, and shortly thereafter, the plane landed and passengers disbanded.
It was then that Hanks recognized the balloon-brandishing hero as the one and only Luke Perry.
“Waiting on line in customs. Finally get a good look at the guy and I say to my wife … ‘I think that balloon man/hero is Luke Perry.'” Hanks finds himself standing next to Perry and is able to see behind the cunning hat, beard, and sunglasses getup. As it turns out, Perry has recognized him, too. “Out of the blue he turns to me and says some kind words about ‘Fargo,'” Hanks wrote, “which kinda blew my mind. I start singing his praises about how long I’ve admired him and also about the move with the balloon.”
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Perry then shared, conspiratorially, that he always flew with a couple of balloons in his pocket for that very reason. Hanks had absolutely no reason to believe it wasn’t true.
“Guy seemed like a true gent,” Hanks concluded. The actor shared his sadness and condolences for Perry’s untimely passing, and also added, in a tribute to Perry’s kindness, patience, and amazingly good humor, that he’d be traveling with some spare balloons himself in the future, too.
It was a pro move.
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