Hollywood actor’s remarkable gesture for sick, elderly neighbor inspires us all

31-year-old Chris Salvatore is setting a beautiful example of what it means to truly respect our elders.

Chris Salvatore and Norma Cook. Photo courtesy of Chris Salvatore

Chris Salvatore, a 31-year-old actor in Hollywood, recently took on a different type of role—a far more admirable one that few others would consider. He’s become the primary caregiver to his elderly neighbor, Norma Cook, who’s now living with him.

Not long ago, the two were simply companions living on the same floor in a West Hollywood apartment complex. Still, they shared a rare and beautiful relationship. Salvatore said he thought of Cook as a grandmother, calling the 89-year-old “friendly but sassy’ and with a stubborn streak,” according to a Today report. The two visited with each other regularly.

Cook, although battling leukemia, had been able to care for herself when the adorable duo first met. Late last year, however, she fell ill with pneumonia and was admitted to the hospital. After spending two-months there, doctors informed Cook that she could not return home without round-the-clock care. Otherwise, she would be sent to a county nursing facility.

Most people would react to such a verdict for an elderly neighbor by assuming that responsibility should fall to her family members. Not Salvatore. Knowing that Cook had no family nearby, he set up a GoFundMe account, which he called, Help Norma Pay for 24-hour Home Care. “Just in the first five hours, we raised enough money for Norma to come home,” Salvatore revealed to GoFundMe Heroes. “It was definitely a miracle.”

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As a result, Cook was blessed to return home to her apartment and her beloved cat, Hermes. But caretakers came and went and soon the money that had been donated through the GoFundMe account began to dwindle. And so, in a beautiful gesture of selflessness, Salvatore invited Cook to move in with him so that he could care for her 24-7.

“She couldn’t be happier that I asked,” he told Today, adding, “I was over there visiting most days anyway. The only other option was for her to go into a facility [and] I just couldn’t do that to someone who is like my own grandmother.”

Salvatore was well aware of what he’d signed up for, having cared for Cook full time before. He’d even once installed a wireless doorbell for her to get ahold of him. “There were moments when I was awoken in the middle of the night by the wireless doorbell to find her in bed suffering from an asthma attack, on the floor, or even stuck on the toilet,” he wrote on the GoFundMe page.

Look who's out of rehab finally! She's doing well thank you for all the get well wishes! #myneighbornorma

A photo posted by Chris Salvatore (@chrissalvatore) on

Now, the two are settling well into their new living situation. “She’s doing great,” Salvatore said. “If you could see her right now, she looks so cute on the couch with her feet propped up. She just hangs out on my couch and watches TV.”

Salvatore is setting a beautiful example of what it means to truly respect our elders by setting aside our own comfort and priorities to provide for their needs. There are countless others like Cook, in need of assistance or even simple companionship. Thanks to the generosity of people like Chris Salvatore, loneliness doesn’t have to afflict them.

Elizabeth Pardi
Elizabeth Pardi

Elizabeth Pardi is a New York-born, Virginia-raised, Ohio-dwelling freelancer. She spends her days laughing, learning and running her way through life with her superstar spouse and their charmingly passionate one-year-old.

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