The world has gotten used to condensing several years’ worth of grief into a handful of months in light of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, and the day that Tom Hanks announced he and his wife Rita Wilson had contracted the infection back in early March was no different than any other. The couple was in Australia for a film shoot when they both tested positive, but have since returned to the US after self-quarantining and receiving treatment.
Even as his condition is vastly improving, though, Hanks continues to make the news. Keeping up his reputation as one of America’s friendliest stars, he was recently lauded for writing a heartwarming letter to an Australian boy who was being bullied for his name, which has received a new and nasty connotation as a result of the pandemic.
As reported by 7News Gold Coast, Corona De Vries wrote Hanks and Wilson a letter asking if the two were doing okay, revealing only in passing that he was “sad and angry” because other children were nefariously referring to him as ‘coronavirus.’ In response, Hanks sent the kid a typewriter (of the brand Corona), along with the following touching message:
“Your letter made my wife and I feel so wonderful! Thank you for being such a good friend – friends make their friends feel good when they are down. I saw you on TV, even though I was back in the USA already – and all healthy. Even though I was no longer sick, getting your letter made me feel even better. You know, you are the only person I’ve ever known to have the name Corona – like the ring around the sun, a crown. I thought this typewriter would suit you. I had taken it to the Gold Coast, and now, it is back – with you. Ask a grown up how it works. And use it to write me back.” Hanks ended his letter, handwriting, “P.S. You got a friend in ME!”
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Hanks’ diagnosis came as a shock to many around the world who weren’t directly affected by the virus, opening their eyes to the very real danger that it poses. While the actor and his wife were among the first celebrities to test positive for COVID-19, they certainly were not the last. Since they were diagnosed, the virus has been contracted by numerous other household names, including singer-songwriter Pink, CNN reporter Chris Cuomo and the British Prince Charles, to name a few.
Not everyone has fared as well as Tom Hanks, though. Musician Adam Schlesinger, actor Mark Blum, comedian Ken Shimura, and many others have now joined a global death toll of nearly 200,000 people and counting. And unfortunately, it doesn’t look like things will be getting any better in the near future.