It’s incredible how one simple act of kindness can transform someone’s life, and even the most improbable partners may establish the most powerful ties. That was the situation with Chris Salvatore, then 26 years old, and his 84-year-old neighbour Norma Cook. Salvatore had no idea that the interested old woman peering at him from her kitchen window in the complex’s courtyard would become one of his dearest friends when he moved into his new apartment in West Hollywood, CA in 2012. He requested if he might step inside and say hello after a short welcome via the screened hole.
Cook lived alone with her adored cat, Hermes, whom she introduced to Salvatore right away. And the two immediately became friends over her favourite champagne and gossip from the neighbourhood. They would share many beautiful experiences over the course of their almost five-year friendship. From pizza parties to lunches on the town, birthday parties, holidays, and unending laughs, there’s something for everyone. They became more like family over time, with Cook referring to Salvatore as “the grandchild she never had.” He, too, thought of her as a grandma.
That’s why, when Cook’s health began to deteriorate at the age of 89, Salvatore, 31, did what any good grandson would do and offered to help with her care. She had been battling leukaemia for years when, towards the end of 2016, she fell very unwell and had to spend two months in the hospital battling pneumonia and respiratory problems. Doctors concluded that the old woman’s health was quickly failing and that she could no longer live alone without 24-hour care. Salvatore established a GoFundMe to assist pay her medical bills and the expenditures of her in-home care, and it garnered moreover $50,000. Cook’s only other alternative was to enter a facility because she had no children of her own or any close relatives nearby.
Salvatore was heartbroken when Cook passed away in February of 2017. But the friendship he formed with the old lady has remained with him throughout the years. He said at the time of her death, “I sense her watching over me, and it’s a good sensation.” “She is pain-free and at peace, perhaps sipping champagne and dancing with the numerous friends she has made over her life.” I’ll be a changed guy for the rest of my life, and I owe all I’ve learned to this lovely lady.”