A coffee shop in Toronto named Grinder was determined to convince Ryan Gosling to pay them a visit. So they launched a social media campaign – with hilarious results. But the way in which their mission ended was even more unforgettable.
Grinder is a cafe located next to Gerrard Square, a popular shopping mall in Toronto. The coffee shop is run by Joelle Murray, who is also part of the food team there along with Scott Hunter. And the manager is a huge fan of Gosling.
The actor himself hails from Canada and was born in London, Ontario, on November 12, 1980. He later lived in Burlington and Cornwall, both also in Ontario. When Gosling was 12 years old, he was offered a part on The Mickey Mouse Club after going to an open audition in his homeland.
Some of Gosling’s fellow Mouseketeers also went on to become huge stars, including Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera and Justin Timberlake. And after receiving his start as a child actor, Gosling’s next big break came after landing the role of Noah in the movie The Notebook. It was a hit with audiences and is now considered one of the most romantic films of all time.
Gosling has since become well-known for his performances in Crazy, Stupid, Love, Drive and Blade Runner 2049. He also recently starred in La La Land, for which he earned a Golden Globe. His latest film, meanwhile, is First Man.
First Man is a biopic about the life of Neil Armstrong, the first human being to set foot on the Moon. Before its full release, the film was screened at the Toronto International Film Festival in September 2018. And when the Grinder coffee shop found out Gosling would be in town, they launched a major campaign to have him visit them.
Murray started the social media campaign on September 1, 2018. “Good news, we are back on Twitter ’cause Monday begins our #ryanneedsgrinder. Come have coffee with us @RyanGosling while you are in town for #TIFF2018,” she wrote on Grinder’s Twitter account.
The post included a photo of a cardboard cut-out of Gosling, who was shown holding a mug of espresso that had been branded with the name of the cafe. And it wasn’t long before the campaign went viral. The following day, in fact, Toronto’s mayor John Tory posed for a photo with the life-size image of the star and tweeted about the coffee shop’s crusade.
Next, Grinder decided to commence ten consecutive days of urging Gosling to stop by. They shared photos of their chalkboard, for instance, which featured reasons why the actor should visit them. And they even made up fake quotes from the star about the cafe.
As the campaign progressed, people online found it increasingly charming. Grinder posted snapshots of the Gosling cut-out receiving a massage and posing with customers. The coffee shop also pretended there was stiff competition between the actor and Luther star Idris Elba, who hadn’t responded to a similar social media crusade.
Once Gosling touched down in Toronto ahead of his movie screening, Murray and her team were hoping for the best. But after the 37-year-old attended the event for First Man on September 10, they feared that he wouldn’t be coming to see them after all. They nonetheless provided directions from the Film Festival to their location, just in case.
On September 11, 2018, the team at the cafe were nine days into their campaign. And that’s when something incredible happened. “I was just in my coffee shop working like I always do, and one of my customers was like, ‘There’s a big car out front,’” Murray told CBC News the following day.
The manager tried to see what was going on – and had the surprise of her life. “I looked up and Ryan Gosling was walking through my door,” Murray recalled. “I jumped up, and I pounced, said a few choice words.”
Murray admitted to Gosling that she couldn’t quite believe that he’d turned up, and the star told her that he’d seen the social media campaign thanks to his mom. “I said, ‘I hope you didn’t find it creepy. It was meant to be fun, it was meant to be tongue-in-cheek,’” Murray revealed. “And he actually said it was really funny, and he was really enjoying it.”
Gosling spent approximately two minutes at Grinder, during which time he took a photo with Murray. The star then left with a black coffee in hand. “He kind of very much humored me, and I told him I loved him,” Murray explained, adding that she hadn’t been able to stop talking while in the actor’s presence. “I just went a mile a minute, to be honest,” she admitted.
Murray also told the actor that she will give his mother a lifetime of free coffee for helping to get him to the cafe. “She really did raise an amazing, kind human being,” Murray told CBC News. “The fact that he took time out of his day, it means so much to us.”
And Donna Gosling admitted that she was proud of her son for stopping by. “You can take the boy out of Canada, but you can’t take the Canadian out of the boy!” she tweeted. “Thank you so much for your kind words Joelle. What Mom wouldn’t want to hear that?! I am so happy it worked out!”
Fans also praised the star for taking the time to visit Murray and her cafe. “What a ‘feel good’ segment,” one viewer wrote on YouTube. “Next time [I’m] in Toronto I will make sure to swing by and patronize this coffee shop. The owner seems very genuine.” Another added, “He is so handsome, and what a sweetheart!”
First Man came out in the U.S. on October 12, 2018. The movie, which co-stars Claire Foy and was directed by Damien Chazelle, has already brought in more than $50 million at the global box office, with Gosling earning praise from critics for his performance. Next, he will be working on a film adaptation of the graphic novel The Underwater Welder.
After the Grinder cafe’s social media campaign went viral and succeeded in coaxing Gosling to the coffee shop, Murray said that they were deciding which star to target next. But it’s clear they won’t forget the actor’s visit anytime soon. “He really didn’t have to do that, and it was a big act of kindness that we cannot express enough thanks to,” Murray told CBC News.