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Jake Gyllenhaal visits injured hockey player at Boston hospital

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This article originally appeared on PEOPLE.com.

Jake Gyllenhaal‘s surprise St. Patrick’s Day visit at a Boston hospital made several patients feel like they had the luck of the Irish.

The Southpaw actor, 35, stopped by Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital in Boston’s Charlestown neighborhood on Thursday in preparation for his upcoming film Stronger, in which he stars as Boston Marathon bombing survivor Jeff Bauman.

“He was touring the hospital, just checking things out. They’re just checking out locations and people from the book, and Jeff had been cared for here,” said a representative for the hospital.

During his tour of the facility, Gyllenhaal ran into Denna Laing, 24, a National Women’s Hockey League forward who suffered a serious spinal injury during a game with her team, the Boston Pride. Gyllenhaal stopped to snap some photos with Laing, who shared her celebrity run-in on Twitter.

“I had an awesome St. Patrick’s Day,” Laing wrote, along with a photo of herself and a casual Gyllenhaal, sporting a black tee and slight beard. “Hope you did too!”

 

“He was terrific. He was interested to learn what the care was like,” said a representative for the hospital. “He was humble and happy. He just wants to do the best job he can.”

Even though it wasn’t an official patient visit, the sighting certainly brightened the day for several patients.

“Everybody who met him enjoyed it,” said the rep. “He was happy. He was very easy. He visited because he was researching the movie, but he was nice enough to spend a couple extra minutes with people.”

The actor has been extensively researching his role, making visits to various Boston hospitals and rehabilitation facilities, as well as spending time with Bauman himself.

However, it hasn’t been all work for Gyllenhaal during his tour of Boston. The actor was spotted earlier this week at Clery’s Bar and Restaurant on the Back Bay/South End line for some pre-St. Patrick’s Day festivities. Last week, he was spotted dining with a large group of friends at Cinquecento.

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