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Winner Experience: Lunch with Mark Hamill

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Imagine going through TSA and explaining why you have a lightsaber with you. Your winner Tom did all that to bring his lightsaber to his lunch with Mark Hamill! Read on to find out more about his trip.

How was it meeting Mark Hamill?
On the one hand, it was surreal for me, as a Star Wars fan, to be sitting next to Mark Hamill and having lunch with him. On the other hand, the whole thing was completely relaxed. He was so nice and accommodating and we were having a normal conversation. We were talking about our kids, what his kids do and what my kids are interested in. And then we’d be talking about something completely crazy from the Star Wars set. I couldn’t believe we were having those conversations in a normal, relaxed manner with a wonderful meal.

What were some of the crazy stories that he shared?
I asked him what his favorite memory from filming Star Wars is, and he said it’s probably just running around the dust with Carrie and Harrison. He said, “You know, at that point we were just goofing off and had no idea how big it was going to be.” Someone had told him when my birthday was, and one of the first things he said when he sat down was, “You know I was filming Episode IV the year you were born? 1976 right?” That was really cool to realize.

What was the highlight of the lunch?
The whole thing was a highlight for me, but one of the big moments happened when we were getting dessert. Mark’s wife ordered some for the table and then he was like, “I’ll have some creme brulee. And bring 5 spoons. We’re all gonna share.” It was just so surreal sitting there next to him and literally sharing dessert and eating off of the same plate as Mark Hamill. It was so natural and he was just so nice, warm and inviting.

Another highlight was after the meal when we were taking pictures and he said, “This felt like lunch with friends and not with fans.” And that meant a lot to me because that meant he was comfortable with us. It was a real compliment for me, and I’m just glad that I was able to have this amazing experience, but Mark walked away feeling like it was a really good time too.

Were there any other special moments?
His wife, Marilou, very graciously at the end of the meal asked Mark to sign a few things for us and he was like, “Sure, of course, absolutely!”

I have a book of Return of the Jedi I’ve had since I was like 7 or 8 years old. He’s on the cover with a photo from that movie with his lightsaber. It’s old and worn because I’ve read it cover to cover, back and forth growing up. So to pull that out and ask for his autograph was such a cool thing.

The second thing I had I kind of struggled getting through TSA. It was a lightsaber replica and the TSA agent was so confused as they pulled it out of my bag. I had to explain that it doesn’t work and was just a replica of the one from the movie, but they didn’t find that funny and just looked at me weird. But he signed that for me and it was an emotional moment because now I have a lightsaber that Mark Hamill held in his hands, wrote my name and signed. It’s the coolest thing ever. I will never get rid of it nor sell it. I will probably make a stipulation in my will for my great great great grandkids that they are not allowed to sell it.

My 10-year old daughter Lily is also a huge fan of his and wanted me to get his autograph. He signed a photo with ‘Love Lilly’ with a heart and an arrow going through it. He was just so so nice, above and beyond.

Thank you all so much for supporting UNICEF and Starlight Children’s Foundation. May the Force be with you.

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