I met Ted DiNunzio in the lower level of the Nordstrom store at the Santa Anita Mall. Sharp. beautiful suit, dress shirt with white collar, rich silk tie, piercing eyes, dark framed glasses, and a friendly demeanor.
Smooth would be one word. When I'm 100, I should look so good. The folks at Nordstrom decided to honor Ted with a birthday party for all the co workers, friends, family members, and shoppers he's befriended in a career as a greeter that BEGAN at the tender age of 86.
Apparently, he's quite the charmer...as he told me, ‘' I feel great, but to get to be 100, it's a struggle. I'm nice. I'm nice to everyone, that's the secret, even if I don't know them, they all answer me and say hello. I make a lot of friends. ‘'. Apparently. It was really a moment for everyone to be choked up, myself included, as Ted, with his eye welling up, and with his only son Bob there, along with one of his two grandchildren, was escorted down a red carpet in
Nordstrom to the cheers of so many. Balloons.. music, applause.. He made a couple of brief remarks, thanking everyone, telling them he was happy, then a huge table filled with cupcakes in the shape of the number 100 was wheeled out, and a great version of "Happy Birthday ‘' filled the women's department by the top of the escalators.
Ted, who was married to Ella for 47 years, but lost her 20 years ago, spent a career in the meat business, most of it in Burbank . He came to California in the 40's, where there weren't as many freeways and people were nicer and not in such a rush. He still drove until a month ago, and still lives by himself in a two bedroom apartment near the Nordstrom store. He says he has to get out of the house, he doesn't sit around, he doesn't watch TV which he said is a ''sickness'' for some. He does go to Mass every day. He said he was a little overwhelmed and surprised by all the attention, didn't expect it,said he felt like the President of the United States walking down that red carpet. Today at least he was a lot more popular. It was great to meet him and see so many smiling faces because of him.