Ask 31-year-old Hollywood actor Chris Salvatore about his best friend, and you’ll get an answer you never saw coming.
Chris and his 89-year-old neighbor, Norma Cook, have lived across the hall from each other for almost five years now.
“She called me the grandson she never had,” Chris said of his friendly but sassy neighbor with a stubborn streak. He considers Norma a grandmother.
The pair have developed a beautiful friendship, and are completely inseparable—especially now that they’re roommates.
Norma has leukemia and recently became gravely ill. She spent two months in the hospital battling pneumonia and breathing problems.
Following her hospital stay, doctors told Norma that she couldn’t return home to her West Hollywood apartment unless she had 24-hour care, which her insurance wouldn’t cover. Chris initially helped Norma with finding a caretaker, and setting up a Go Fund Me page (which raised more than $50,000), but the money was quickly exhausted.
Knowing that her days are numbered, Norma decided she wanted to spend the time she has left with her friend Chris. He invited her to move in, and the rest is history.
“She couldn’t be happier that I asked,” he said. “I was over there visiting most days anyway.”
Chris often posts photos and videos of him and Norma on social media with the hashtag #myneighbornorma.
Norma has lived in the apartment complex for 30 years. She doesn’t have any children, and any close family she has is not nearby.
“The nurses and doctors told her that it would be a miracle if she lived past the holidays, so the fact that she’s still thriving is just a really great thing,” Chris explains. “She’s doing great. 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.”
Chris says that if she hadn’t moved in with him, her only other option would have been moving into a facility. “I just couldn’t do that to someone who is like my own grandmother.”
Studies show that human interaction is proven to prolong the life of the elderly. It seems as though this unlikely friendship is a true testament to that.
“Moving her in…it feels as though it was meant to be all along,” Chris said. “It’s really fulfilling to be there for her.”
And Norma couldn’t be happier to have found a friend in the actor across the hall. “He’s a really wonderful guy,” she said.