Speed Reads

It wasn't all bad

His neighbor, 89, was too sick to live alone, so 'the grandson she never had' invited her to move in

When Norma Cook, 89, immediately offered Chris Salvatore, 31, a glass of champagne after he moved in across the hall from her, he had a feeling they would become friends. Neither one of them knew that five years later, they'd be roommates.

Cook, who has described Salvatore as "the grandson she never had," has leukemia, and spent two months in the hospital with pneumonia. Doctors said if she wanted to go back to her home in West Hollywood, California, she needed to have a nurse with her 24/7. Salvatore set up a GoFundMe page for his "friendly but sassy" neighbor, but soon realized how expensive it is to have constant care, and invited Cook to move in with him. "She couldn't be happier that I asked," he told Today. "I was over there visiting most days anyway. 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."

Her nurses and doctors said it would be a "miracle" if Cook survived through the holidays, and the fact that she's "still thriving is just a really great thing," Salvatore said. He also took in her cat, Hermes, and prepares Cook's meals. "If he can't make it as an actor, he can make it as a chef," she joked. Her unlikely roommate is a "really wonderful guy," she told Today, and their days together are well-spent. "We always watch the news," she said. "We mostly talk and drink champagne and eat peanuts." Catherine Garcia