Dustin Vitale wanted to take his mom Gloria on the trip she always dreamed of: To see the pyramids in Egypt with the whole family — 14 people.
As CBS News first reported, he decided to so after his mom was diagnosed with terminal bladder cancer.
Dustin worked as a middle school teacher in Philadelphia and could never afford $10,000 to fly everyone, so he started selling cheesesteaks from his home with his mother’s recipe.
Dustin made sandwiches so big no container could contain them, and peddled them to friends and family. Those people must have told their friends and family, too — because almost immediately, cars started double-parking outside his house. A food truck operator offered his services to help.
It took six weeks for Dustin to raise enough, and then some — $18,000.
The Egyptian government saw Dustin’s story and gave Gloria the Cleopatra treatment during their May trip. According to Dustin, the government even let them visit a sphinx, which wasn’t open to the public.
“She repeated over and over that it was the best thing she has ever done in her life,” Dustin said.
His mom died shortly after coming home from the trip.
“If you had seen her in Egypt, you would’ve thought she had three more years, but it ended up being three more weeks,” Dustin said.
The day they got back from the trip, Gloria was hospitalized. They released her so she could do hospice at home, where she passed away at 56.
“We created so many new memories that will last forever,” Dustin said. “It was all focused on her living her best life.”
To make sure no one ever forgets her, Dustin wants to open a cheesesteak restaurant. He doesn’t know where or when, he just knows the name: Gloria’s.
Dustin and his wife Hailey are also pregnant with a boy expected to be born in the fall. They plan to name him Glory.
When asked what pushed him forward, Dustin said, “Just my mom, just the love for my mom.”