People help the world in different ways. For Charlie Poveromo, nights were filled with serving drinks to thirsty individuals. When the daylight came, he helped others by providing a good deed.
He noticed that sanitation workers were sweating while they were caring for their job in the summer heat. There were other ones who were having difficulty staying cool.
Charlie realized that construction workers and others who were out in the sun were struggling that summer. He decided that something needed to be done about it and he was the one to do it.
“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.”
It didn’t take long before Charlie recognized the sanitation workers were grateful for his icy cold gift. That is when he went to the store, bought a cooler and stocked it with cold water. On that day, he told the workers that the water would always be available during the summer.
Charlie continued to add more items on top of the water. Juice and food were some of the more popular items.
“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.”
When the summer arrived this year, the cooler was nowhere to be found. After 37 years of marriage, Charlie died of a heart attack in the late winter. His wife Velvet, however, was thinking about that cooler full of water.
“Once the weather started getting warm, I thought, ‘Oh, my God, the water bottles.'”
Even though Velvet was going through grief at the time, she located the watercooler and went to the store. She purchased enough water bottles to last for a long while because she wanted to keep up her late husband’s tradition. She thought it was a way of honoring him.
The sanitation workers saw the cooler again but they also noticed a note was attached. She talked about her situation and left some cards behind from his funeral service.
“In case you were unaware, my husband, Charlie, passed away suddenly at age 57 on March 10th. I will do my best to continue to provide bottled water.”
Those workers were aware that it had to be a painful thing for her to stock the cooler on a regular basis. That is when they stepped up to the plate and let her know how grateful they were for her husband’s generosity. They were also happy that she continued with the tradition.
“…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 truck, 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.”
When the word got out about this good deed, a new concept was established. It is known as “Charlie’s coolers” and you can find them across the country.
“It’s taken on a life of its own. Every person who does it, it’s a tribute to him.”
Although Charlie is no longer with us, Velvet understands that his legacy lives on. There are many people who continue to benefit from his kindness, even down to this day.