It’s awesome when one person’s act of kindness takes off and spreads far and wide. Charlie Poveromo was married to his wife, velvet for 37 years. Sadly, the devoted, generous husband died suddenly of a heart attack in March.

Every summer for several years, Charlie would set out a cooler filled with drinks and leave it outside for sanitation workers, mail carriers, and other laborers. This summer, though her husband was gone, Velvet decided to continue the tradition.

The New Jersey widow wrote this post on social media, describing how it all started. “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,” Velvet wrote on Facebook.

You know, I was married to Charlie for 37 years (and, although he’s not right here beside me, we are still and always…

Posted by Velvet Poveromo on Tuesday, June 19, 2018

“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. That very afternoon, he ran to the store, bought several cases of bottled water and bags of ice and 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. 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. 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. Last year,  he expanded his ‘menu’ to include Gatorade and orange juice.”

Since she posted this inspirational story of her husband’s generosity, velvet has received messages from others who have set out their own Charlie’s coolers. Charlie’s goodwill has spread across the country from Florida to California.

“It just keeps growing. It started out with this. A cooler on a lawn,” she said.

It doesn’t take much to do something kind for another person. You don’t need a huge backyard or fancy equipment. Charlie proved that every summer. And now, thousands of others are doing the same.