There are some people who just leave an impression on everyone they meet.
Charlie Poveromo of New Jersey was one of those people.
“He was one of the finest gentlemen I had ever met. Everybody felt like an individual to him. He spoke directly to people, his eyes never wandered,” said Tony Del Gatto, owner of Grissini restaurant where Poveromo was a beloved bartender.
“There could be 20 or 30 people at the bar that needed attention but when a person spoke to him, they were the most important person in the room.”
Poveromo was known to take care of the people around him.
That’s why he jumped to aid some local garbagemen who looked like they needed help. They looked pale and overheated so Poveromo ran to get them some water and plastic cups.
“Maybe 5+ years ago, we were suffering thru a brutal summer heat wave and Charlie saw our garbage truck pull up and the men were pale and sweating profusely,” his wife, Velvet Poveromo recalled on Facebook. “He came running into the kitchen, grabbed a bunch of plastic cups and our big jug of water and made sure everyone got as much as they wanted.”
He also gave them a shady spot to sit.
He had only one day off that week, but he still went to the local grocery store to get cases of bottled water, ice, and a cooler.
“The next morning at 6:30 am, after working all night and only getting a few hours of sleep, he loaded them into one of our coolers and waited for the truck to roll up,” she said. “I watched as he went up to the truck and explained that, from now on, the cooler would contain cold drinks for them all summer long.”
Word eventually spread and not only would the sanitation engineers stop by for refreshments, but so would police officers, firemen, and construction workers.
But there was almost no cooler this summer because Poveromo died of a heart attack this March. But Velvet decided to step in and take over the job.
“I had to step into his shoes,” Velvet told NorthJersey.com. “Once the weather started getting warm, I thought, ‘Oh, my God, the water bottles.’ I had to do it. It was his tradition, and I had to honor him.”
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Now the cooler has a photo of her husband with a note calling it “Charlie’s Cooler.” Now people are donating items to fill Velvet’s cooler and some people are creating their own Charlie’s Coolers.
They’ve popped up in Paramus, Ramsey, Norwood, Oradell, upstate New York, and Wyoming.
“It’s taken on a life of its own,” Velvet said. “Every person who does it, it’s a tribute to him.”
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