'What a privilege it is': Tom Hanks sends letter to Saskatoon typewriter repairman
SASKATOON -- A self-taught typewriter repair expert's efforts to keep the vanishing trade alive have captured the attention of one of Hollywood's biggest stars.
Tom Hanks, known to be a typewriter enthusiast himself, sent a complimentary letter to Saskatoon's Thom Cholowski — which of course was typed.
"What a privilege it is to type a letter to western Canada's premier typewriter repairman," begins the letter addressed to Cholowski, written on Hanks' own letterhead.
Cholowski shared photos of the newly arrived letter on Facebook.
"This arrived in the mail today. Praise from Mr. Tom Hanks," Cholowski said in an Aug. 25 post.
"I’m honoured and speechless, what a class act."
"I know the next time or the first time I'm in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan I'll be darkening your door if only to smell the lubricant of a well-refurbished machine, no matter what the language, braille or Native-Canadian Cree," Hanks wrote to Cholowski.
The letter came in response to a thank-you note Cholowski typed out and sent to the movie star earlier this year.
"Tom Hanks has very much been the celebrity face of typewriters, something that he's always been passionate in," Cholowski told CTV News in an interview.
"Through Tom's advocacy, it's gone from being a nostalgic, old fashioned piece of technology to a point where people are taking a second look at these machines and they're really rediscovering the joy and beauty of these wonderful machines," Cholowski said.
"I thanked him for his work and I told him just about the impact of what he's done has had on my life, the positive impact."
While he wasn't expecting a response to his two-page letter, Cholowski said the fact the star took the time to answer confirmed what he had long suspected about Hanks.
"I came home and there's an envelope in my mailbox from Tom Hanks and I was honoured and I was humbled but I had to smile because it just reaffirmed my belief he's just a stand-up guy."
The letter also contained an offer of a typewriter from Hanks to add to Cholowski's collection.
"It will certainly be deeply appreciated and treasured, certainly not for sale," Cholowski said.
Until now, Cholowski's passion for restoring typewriters to a close to "factory new " condition as possible — even models manufactured in the 1880s — has been a part-time gig.
But thanks to Hanks encouraging words and the resulting attention, with media outlets calling from around the world, Cholowski is working to fully embrace his role as western Canada's "premier typewriter repairman."
"This has been the motivation that I needed to make the jump to do this full-time," Cholowski said.
"Who would have thought a little piece of paper could change somebody's life, right?"