Customers Give Beloved Dying Costco Worker Surprise Vacation

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Most people would be hit hard by living with multiple sclerosis for two years. Add a diagnosis last fall of kidney cancer that has metastasized into terminal bone cancer - two years to live - and most of us would melt down into a puddle of self-pity and anger at the unfairness of it all.

Not Arlie Smith. The 45-year-old has worked at the same Danville, California Costco store for the last 21 years. He's at the door, welcoming the customers and bidding them goodbye, and is always smiling, even after receiving a medical verdict as good as a death sentence. Now, the customers who have always benefited from the cheer he brought to them have banded together to bring some sweetness to his life, according to KGO-TV.A group calling themselves Arlie's Angels raised money - "$5, $10, $100. Whatever you can do," said organizer Bridgette Loughane to KGO-TV - to send Smith and his wife Shari on a vacation. The Angels raised more than $2,500 to give the couple four nights in Laguna Beach. The group showed up at 1pm during one of his shifts to present the Smiths with a gift basket that had the donations.

Smith has a big impact on the outlooks of the people who shop at that Costco.

"He's always at the door, he's always giving receipts, he's always smiling, always happy," customer Steve Maurer told KTVU-TV. "And people refer to him as the Costco guy." Smith signs receipts with a smiley face and a little cartoon when there are children.

"We're all here today because we love you so much," Loughnane told Smith.

"All these people who he has reached out to, and now they're there for him," Shari Smith told KGO-TV. "I can't believe how many sweet, wonderful people there are."

"Look at these people," Smith said. "I'm richer than Bill Gates and the guy from Facebook. Those guys on Shark Tank, put them all together. My life is... I have a priceless, wonderful life. You can't put a price tag on these people and all of this."

His immediate goal? To be the top fund-raiser for a May Children's Hospital Oakland benefit.

"My goal is to be number one and not for me," Smith said, choking up. "It's just so I know that I made a difference in this world. That I've put a mark in a positive way to make this world a better place."
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