updated 01/09/2013 AT 4:00 PM ET
•originally published 01/11/2013 AT 10:00 AM ET
Hey girl, sometimes dreams do come true.
Last fall, officials at the Texas School for the Deaf in Austin hoped to entice Ryan Gosling to attend a charity fundraiser by posting an open invitation in the form of the flirty “Hey Girl” Internet meme that riffs on his don’t-you-wish-he-was-your-hipster-boyfriend reputation.
Gosling happily mingled, took photos with a long line of excited parents and kids, and at one point, he “paid $50 for a $1 glow-in-the-dark cotton candy,” says Anne Adams, executive director of the school’s foundation. “He insisted on learning the sign for please and thank you so he could properly show his appreciation to the child. He deserves every one of those ‘hey girls!’ ”