For the past five decades, kids have idolized and dreamed of being as brave as Luke Skywalker. My 4-year-old thinks he’s the coolest guy in the world, just as his dad did some 30 years ago. And when we visited Walt Disney World last Christmas, my kids scoured the park, searching for any Star Wars character they could find. But the chance to meet Luke was the ultimate prize.
As it turns out, Mark Hamill, who’s famously played Luke Skywalker since the franchise began, embodies the kindness and heart of his character Luke, and he certainly showed it when he met one of his No. 1 fans in person.
Eight years ago, 17-year old John Sikorra was terminally ill, but still bravely battling juvenile Batten’s disease. His parents reached out to screenwriter Ed Solomon to see if their son’s dying wish could be granted. His dream? To meet Luke Skywalker.
It’s a story that would have been lost to time — only remembered by the few who were close to Sikorra at the time — had Solomon not shared the touching story in a now-viral Twitter thread on December 4. In it, Solomon details how he reached out to Mark Hamill’s agent and explained that the child desperately wanted to meet Luke (as in the real Luke, from the movies).
Afterwards, he says he hoped for the best. But what happened next was nothing short of magical.
“The agent begrudgingly said he’d call Mark,” Solomon explains in the thread, “but also said not to get my hopes up. 90 seconds later I got a call from @HamillHimself, who immediately said yes and gave me his home address.”
That’s right — Mark Hamill himself called Ed Solomon 90 SECONDS LATER and said yes. He didn’t even hesitate about the decision. (You know, like the true Jedi that he is.)
“He not only met with the boy, but spent hours answering question after question (sometimes the same ones repeatedly), AS ‘Luke,'” Solomon shared. “Even posting this now makes me teary. He was compassionate, kind, and patient. And it literally meant the world to this kid and his family.”
The Hollywood Reporter shares that due to his state of mind, John couldn’t actually differentiate between “Hamill the person and Luke Skywalker the character,” and that his short-term memory at the time was faulty.
“Mark spoke to John simply and directly and with utter dignity,” Solomon explained. “John would ask the same question three times in a row, and Mark would answer the same way every single time.”
“Mark was just super patient and kind,” John’s father Joe told THR. “It was one of those beautiful experiences. It is very humbling, this disease. You have got to let go of your normal expectations for you and your kids and family. In the midst of struggle and tragedy, it was those points of connection that make you feel loved and less isolated. Mark was very kind, ‘No rush, my time is your time.'”
So yeah, I’m crying right now. And I’ll bet you are, too.
Twitter fans have been responding in droves over the last few days, commending Hamill for his kindness and generosity and also sharing their own personal connection to him and how he helped them through hard times in their lives.
Fiona Burt, who goes by the Twitter handle @fiona_skywalker shared: “My sister was in hospital many times during my childhood. We never knew if she would pull through — she’s 24 today. Star Wars was one of the things that got me through, you guys were my friends. Thanks for doing this Mark. It means everything to kids.”
And @IrishMel21 tweeted, “Mark, you continue to be awe-inspiring. You’ve been my hero since a child and you continue to be worthy of that title. Thank you for being a kind soul.”
Star Wars has touched the lives and hearts of kids worldwide over the past 50 years, and will undoubtedly continue to inspire Jedi courage for generations to come. There is no greater honor than meeting a true Jedi, if you ask me — so thank you to Mark Hamill for giving such a thoughtful gift to a boy who needed it the most.
Sadly, the Sikorra family lost their son John on September 24, 2015 at just 23 years old; but it’s clear he lived his last few days on this earth to the absolute fullest, thanks to those who surrounded him.
May the force always be with you, John.