After weeks of studying in Vienna Sal’s new mentor and friend Viktor invited him to join him on his visit to San Diego. He had been invited to spend the spring semester at the University, and had arranged for Sal to pursue his Doctorate in Human Behavior and Leadership. Sal was thrilled to join him, and each day in his presence was like being in a laboratory filled with wisdom and learning. In addition to his incredible mind, Sal was privy to the innumerable letters from all over the world telling him how his book and work had dramatically changed their lives. For all of his achievements the two realities that most amazed Sal was his humility, and ability to forgive the Nazis.
It was not mere rhetoric that despite the horror of the war he seemed willingly to move past the pain. Sal was stunned by his ability to love and forgive. It literally took his breath away to hear Viktor’s voice gently talk about forgiveness. His decision to forgive those that had stolen his family,and all that he held dear was at a level of humanity far beyond what Sal thought was possible. He once teased him about his ability to forgive by telling him.” It is a good thing that you are not a Sicilian.You would have to hunt every one of them down until they all slept with the fishes.”. He laughed and said “ Salvatore you would be as forgiving.””
It wasn’t only his brilliant mind that captivated Sal.It was also many other lessons that came from his public teaching ,but even more from the life he modeled. The students loved his classes, and besides his brilliant mind and gifted teaching style ,he possessed an uncanny ability to see the humor in so many situations
Sal learned the following among the plethora of gifts he bestowed on his mind and heart.
No matter what the circumstances there are always some choices within your control.
The Past does not determine the future.
Every human person desires and seeks meaning.
Love will always overcome hatred.
Everyone has value, and is worthy of love and respect.
You become great by not seeking greatness, but rather by service to others
He was at the center of the University, and was not only a magnet to students, but also to other heavyweights in the field. He took Sal everywhere with him while he was in San Diego.One night Sal was at a restaurant with Viktor,Carl Rogers,Harold Greenwald.Everett Shostrom and William Shutz.He thought to myself what is a kid from 202 Delaware Avenue ,Jersey City doing at this table?