Meals On Wheels of San Francisco

Alessandro stands next to a white Ferrari

Meet Alessandro: Still Prince Charming

Posted July 19, 2013

MOWSF Blog | Senior Stories

Alessandro and a Ferrari posterOn the second story of an airy but sparsely furnished apartment in the Marina, lives Alessandro, a MOWSF client for the past year. The 85-year-old walks slowly, with a shuffle, and rises off the sofa with some difficulty. But he is still an animated host, full of stories and of charm. “Bellina,” says the Tuscan native, peppering the conversation with Italian, “I am a humble man.”

But the pictures on the wall tell a different story. There is a photo of Alessandro in Kenya, his arm wrapped around a cheetah; a framed ticket from a flight on the Concord; a picture of him on the nightly TV news. But most of all there are pictures of Ferrari’s, and Alessandro, dressed in racing gear, is standing proudly in most of them.

Alessandro and Ferrari flagIt was in 1972 that he first got behind the wheel of the famed racing car, and it continued to be his passion for most of his life. For day jobs, Alessandro worked as a waiter and a maître d’ at fine dining restaurants in Florida, California and beyond, but his passion was racing. He has a framed article he wrote for Ferrari Magazine, recounting a race and dinner, alongside a Ferrari flag and a photo of him looking askance from the camera, still his signature pose.

That life is now far behind him. His fortunes changed, and he has no family nearby. “The problem is loneliness,” he says, as most his friends have passed away. “I spend my day watching TV and see a friend once every month or two months.”

Alessandro's Ferrari Magazine ArticleBut Alessandro’s spirits never stay low for long. “I feel like I’m the dean of a sorority house,” he says, joking about the young, predominantly female tenants now occupying his building. He still attends church on Sundays, and, despite health problems, tries to make it of out of the house at least once a day. “Maybe because I am spiritually richer now, I am happier than when my life was fancy,” he says.

Alessandro appreciates the help that MOWSF has given him with social services, as well as with food. “You people are wonderful,” he says, mentioning past gifts (a blanket, a bathmat…). However, he does have one complaint in regards to the menu – it needs more pasta!