A local teen and Elks Rodeo queen candidate ran into some big-name actors this week in Santa Maria and says it was a moment she will never forget.
Brenda Arellano says her daughter, Nerissa, was driving along Betteravia Road near Pappy’s Restaurant Thursday when she noticed a white Range Rover at the nearby Chevron gas station.
A moment later, the 18-year-old was on the phone with her mom saying she thought actor Tom Hanks was inside the car.
Brenda said she had heard Hanks was friendly to fans and encouraged her daughter to turn around and say hi.
Once her daughter was inside the gas station purchasing some snacks, Brenda says the man she suspected was Hanks said something to the cashier and her suspicion was immediately confirmed.
“She knew it was Woody from ‘Toy Story,'” Brenda said. From there, Nerissa reportedly asked the star if he was indeed Tom Hanks.
“He looked over his sunglasses at her and said, ‘Yes, I am,’ just like Woody,” Brenda said.
The two shook hands and Nerissa learned Hanks and Wilson were in town for the weekend and planning to attend a play at PCPA.
Nerissa, a Righetti High School senior, was reportedly overwhelmed and crying “happy tears” while talking to Hanks about her school and trip Friday to Disneyland, a place Hanks reportedly told her he knows very well, for grad night.
“She said, ‘Mom, it was like we were friends,'” Brenda said.
Hanks introduced Nerissa to his wife before asking if the teen wanted to take a picture. Hanks took the selfie of the three before they said goodbye and went their separate ways.
“She (Nerissa) said, ‘Thank you so much, I really hope you enjoy our city,” Brenda explained to KSBY News before Hanks replied, “Thank you.”
“She cries when she tells the story,” Brenda said. “He is so kind. She will never forget the moment… total memory for her.”
Hanks will star in the upcoming Toy Story 4 set to hit theaters next month.
Nerissa is an Elks Rodeo queen candidate for VTC Enterprises.