A guy walks into a Goodwill and finds an ’80s-era Tom Selleck aloha shirt. No big deal, right? There were a bazillion of those back in the day when "Magnum, P.I." was the king of Thursday night television.
But this one came with a rip, an autograph and a story.
A few months ago, Honolulu resident Daniel Wilson decided to start collecting aloha shirts. Last week he stopped by the Pearl City Goodwill to browse the racks. Among the shirts was a red floral—not his style—but then something on the shirt caught his eye.
"Someone had taken a Sharpie and wrote, ‘For The Hard Rock, With much aloha, Tom Selleck’ on the front side of the shirt," Wilson said.
The shirt wasn’t in great shape. It had buttons missing, a big rip in the back, some damage on the front. Wilson was intrigued, so he took the shirt to the cashier.
"The cashier looked at the rip, smiled, looked at the $6.99 price tag and said, ‘I’ll give it to you for $2.99.’"
Later than night, Wilson started poking around online.
"I first looked for an authentic Tom Selleck signature and found one soon enough. I compared the authenticated signature with the one on the shirt. Wow, it matched!"
More online detective work turned up images of Tom Selleck wearing similar aloha shirts and a photo someone had posted of a shirt that Selleck had presented to the Hard Rock Cafe in Honolulu. It was in a wall-mounted glass case with a baseball cap and a photo of the "Magnum, P.I." star.
"I took out the shirt I got at the Goodwill and compared it to the shirt in the photo from the Hard Rock. I think a hundred shirts could be made from the same printed fabric but because of the way the fabric is cut and the way the shirt is sewn together each shirt will basically be unique. All the patterns matched identically."
Looking closer (OK, he was in total CSI mode at this point), he saw that the label matched and the writing matched. From there, it became a full-on investigation.
The next day, Wilson picked his daughter up from summer school and the two headed to Hard Rock Cafe on Kapiolani Boulevard. They looked around and saw that the Tom Selleck shirt wasn’t where it was supposed to be. He asked the manager, who shared a tale of woe.
"He said that it had been stolen about nine months ago and asked, ‘Why, do you know where it is?’ I replied, ‘Is there a reward?’" Wilson says he was joking about that part.
Wilson was told that the shirt had been taken during regular business hours, just ripped from the display case.
"I imagine some kind of alcohol-fueled larceny was involved," Wilson said. He left his name and number with Hard Rock management, but was told the company might have already written off the loss.
Hard Rock Cafe Honolulu sales and marketing manager Jill Gilboy confirmed the story. When the shirt was stolen, she even filed a police report, but then they covered up the empty spot on the wall with fish menus and moved on from the incident. Or rocked on, as the case may be.
Yesterday, Wilson took the shirt back to Hard Rock. "After all, it is their shirt," he said. He was offered a dinner and a Hard Rock shirt as a mahalo.
So he ended up with something better than an aloha shirt for his collection. He got a story to tell, and the moral of that story, he says: "You never know what you’re going to find at the Goodwill."