Mark Gibbs' returned T-shirt and photos + display at UBC Bookstore

Recently, a unique and playful return of a 42-year-old T-shirt to the UBC Bookstore received media attention at UBC and beyond.

UBC News writes:

“Most of us have a T-shirt relic from decades past, usually stuffed into the dark recesses of a drawer only to slowly fall to pieces or be tossed out by next of kin.

“But not Mark Gibbs, 62, of Swansea, Wales. After 42 years of ownership, Gibbs decided to return his decidedly aged, in places torn and threadbare, faded, yellow Thunderbirds T-shirt to the UBC Bookstore, playfully demanding an exchange.”

Bookstore director Steve Alb, after receiving a package containing the shirt, then-and-now photos of Gibbs wearing it, and a cheeky handwritten letter requesting a “replacement T-shirt please” enjoyed a good laugh.

He then emailed Gibbs an equally playful reply: “Having endured 40 years of wear we are similarly shocked that the shirt has finally given up the ghost – talk about shoddy product!”

Looking for a way to share the story and show off this fun piece of UBC history, Steve asked staff to set up an in-store display, featuring Gibbs’ T-shirt on a mannequin, along with his letter and photos.

The heartwarming story was quickly picked up by UBC News, The University of British Columbia Magazine, CBC’s As It Happens (52:10), Global News, Daily Hive, Vancouver Is Awesome and numerous other media outlets.

Story starts at 52:10.

Enclosed T-shirt and photos of Mark Gibbs in 1983 and 2022.
Mark Gibbs’s handwritten letter to UBC Bookstore.