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People Who Inspire 4 -

Beautiful, Big-hearted Sal Costello

There are no great deeds;

 just small deeds done with great love.


Mother Teresa

40 years ago today, heaven received an honored guest.

Sal, or “Mr. Softy” as he was known, was a man who possessed a certain rare gentility. With a larger-than-life personality, his magnetic presence inspired everyone around him & inspires me still today.


An Everyman. An Everydad. A hero of Everyday Love.


A genial man with a perpetual smile & a calming, happy presence.


Every so often photos of Sal, my friend Brenda’s father, show up in my Facebook news feed & I’m immediately charmed. The man with the gleam in his eyes never fails to solicit a smile & pluck at my heart strings.

Brimming with old-world charm, I’m certain that his timeless face could easily grace any product wanting to harness that retro good-ol'-days feel today.


Some people just have that IT factor.


What strikes me most about Sal though is how his acts of kindness continue to be immortalized with an affection that only seems to grow with the passing of time.

To live in the hearts we leave behind, is not to die.


Thomas Campbell

Taken randomly from Facebook comments, here are a few of the sentiments that arose when those who knew him best traded memories:

He was more than a father to just his kids. He stepped in after we lost our father. I'll never forget him coming over every Saturday to pick up one of us boys & take us to work with him for the day.

Uncle Sal was the best. We called him “The Gentle Giant."

Sal was the Best Man in the World!

I remember when Mr. Softy’s truck would come down Ewan Terrace & he’d buy ice cream for every kid in the neighborhood.

Memories live & love never ends.


Sal drove a cement truck. Yet I suspect that was really just a front to give kids a thrill ride in a truck they found big & impressive. (Knowing this, I find myself with a fondness for anyone who drives a cement truck today.)



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The Dalai Palma

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For Sal & his wife Bette it was “il colpo di fulmine” as the Italians say (which means to be hit by “the thunderbolt”). 40 years later, one gets the feeling that she’s still crazy-in-love with the guy.


His daughters (chips off the ol’ block, I must say) still beam & gush today at the mention of his name.


A person can have no greater epitaph than that which is inscribed on the hearts of his family & friends.


And for those who don’t think that small, daily acts of kindness performed by ordinary people can make a difference in the world, consider Sal.


In his life I recognize some things deep & true:

•  What we do doesn’t matter as much as how we do it.


•  To save the world: Love local. We can reach out & mend most anything with love.


•  Small deeds done with great love are what make any day, any life, anybody great.


•  We can leave the world in better condition than we found it by leaving a little piece

    of ourselves behind in everyone we meet along the way.


Sound lofty? Sal proved it isn’t.


While writing this post, here’s what I concluded: That Sal’s heart– so big & generous –simply gave out from overuse. And today I honor the love more than the loss.


Salute Sal! In your 52 years here on earth, you hit it outta the park.


(I get the feeling that God’s winking at Mr. Softy right now, and quite possibly clapping.) People like Sal make heaven a little closer to our hearts.


"To love another person is to see the face of God."


Jean Valjean, Les Misérables



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