She had no friends or family to turn to as she underwent treatment for leukemia. And the young man was more than happy to step up and give her company, support, and an amazing friendship.
Sometimes, it's not about blood relations or having known each other for years. It can be pure destiny that brings two people together and leads to an unexpected, but an amazing relationship. When Hollywood actor, Chris Salvatore moved into his apartment complex, right across the hall was Norma Cook, a woman in her 80s who was his "friendly but sassy full of life" neighbor.
After weeks of casually saying "hello" to each other, Chris took his curiosity to know her story and went up to her front door. "The day I entered her apartment and spoke with her face to face was the day my life was changed forever," he wrote on GoFundMe.
"She offered me a glass of Champagne — it's her favorite drink — and we just sat down and talked," he told Today. "We connected right away."
It was the beginning of a strong friendship where they both found in each other the one thing that they were missing. "She is my adopted grandmother after all and I am her grandson she never had," he wrote.
Eventually, Chris found out that she had leukemia and started becoming increasingly ill. But Norma had no friends or family that she could turn to. That's when he stepped up and asked Norma if she would move in with him. "She couldn't be happier that I asked. I was over there visiting most days anyway," he said. "The only other option was for her to go into a facility. I just couldn't do that to someone who is like my own grandmother."
Norma, too, couldn't have been happier to stay with the young man who took the place of her grandson, who would accompany her to doctor's appointments and share a glass of her favorite champagne with her. "Moving her in... it feels as though it was meant to be all along. It's really fulfilling to be there for her," Chris said. He even raised funds to help with the healthcare that Norma needed.
For Chris, Norma was the person who changed him completely and helping her out in any way meant so much to him.
"I am asking for anyone who has seen my postings on social media with Norma and has been touched by her love and her smile and yes, even her sassiness to help donate what they can..." he wrote. "Norma has made me a kinder, more compassionate human being and this is the least that I can do for her!"
They continued to share a wonderful bond together and fill each other's life with love and kindness. However, when the time came, Chris had to say his last goodbyes to Norma after she passed away in February, 2017. "It's with a heavy heart that I share the news that earlier this morning the world lost a truly inspiring, beautiful woman," he wrote on Instagram. "Norma is now resting peacefully in the eternal and while she may no longer physically be with us, her spirit will continue to fill the hearts of so many people."
While she may no longer be living across the hall from him or sharing the same roof with him, Norma gave Chris the most unforgettable experiences that would make him cherish her memory for long. Norma may not have had family or friends to call up, but she found one young man who became her best friend and took the place of a grandson who cared for her without conditions.
Chris told Medium, “My life has changed forever because of Norma and what happened. It gave me hope again. I’m forever grateful for Norma because I feel like I’ll carry this with me for the rest of my life."