Dennis Prager once said “Goodness is about character, integrity, honesty, kindness, generosity, moral courage and the like. More than anything else it is about how we treat other people. Eight years ago Charlie Poveromo noticed local sanitation workers sweating profusely in the intense summer heat, completely dehydrated and felt something must be done.
He went inside his kitchen, grabbed a bunch of plastic cups and a big jug of water and made sure everyone got as much as they wanted. The sanitation workers to a great extent appreciated Charlie for quenching their thirst, it was like finding an oasis in the middle of the desert. It was then that Charlie decided to do even more he went to the store, filled his cooler with ice and stocked it with water bottles. He told the workers that day that his cooler would always be full and available to them all summer long.
Charlie did not stop at that he added juice and food, so that as the workers can after quenching their thirst with either water or juice they could also have something to provide them the much-needed energy to work which is the food he added to the cooler. “As word spread, we’d often see not only our sanitation engineers, but DPW employees, police officers, firemen, construction workers and the like stop by for a breather, some shade under our tree and a nice cold bottle of water.” Charlie’s wife said.
Something sad however happened this year and the cooler wasn’t there, this is because Charlie passed away from a heart attack at the age of 57 three months before the summer rolled around. The water cooler was not even on his wife’s mind and can you really blame her for losing someone to the cold hands of death can be really devastating.
As she told her local newspaper, “once the weather started getting warm, I thought. ‘Oh, my God, the water bottles.” She notwithstanding the fact that her heart was heavy with grief mustered courage, found the water cooler and headed to the store where she filled the cooler with enough water bottles to last for a while and placed it where her late husband normally places the cooler. She thus preserved her husband’s tradition and did not let it follow him to his grave.
The workers checked the cooler and noticed that the cooler was accompanied by something unusual which happened to be a note explaining situation of things. “In case you are unaware, my husband, Charlie, passed away suddenly at age 57 on March 10th. I will do my best to continue to provide bottled water.”
Showing profound appreciation to Charlie’s wife for continuing her husband’s tradition after his death and honoring Charlie for living a life full of generosity and compassion the workers did something special.
“… I heard the unmistakable sound of the garbage truck ease to a stop and as I turned to look, I watched in awe as each man stepped off the struck, the driver getting out to join them and in a straight line they stood together and saluted our home and me!! As is happening at this very moment, my eyes filled with tears and my body began to tremble as one by one they each came up to me, grasped my hand, gave me a hug and told me how very sorry they were and that no one had ever shown them the thoughtfulness and appreciation my husband had and then slowly, one by one, they each took a water bottle or two, climbed back up on the truck and gave a loud beep as they drove off.”
Others across the country have also followed Charlie’s footstep and established their own concept of giving free water to workers. Charlie must be smiling in his grave now.