BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Chuck Incorvaia's death this week has led to thousands of people flooding social media with videos, pictures and messages honoring the "Bubble Man."
"It's surprising and amazing," said brother Jim Incorvaia about the response. Jim is the owner of Jim's SteakOut, a local food chain.
Above the Jim's SteakOut, on the corner of Elmwood and Allen, is where the "Bubble Man" lifted spirits of all who passed by. Pushing bubbles into the Allentown air with the help of a fan.
"It was so different," said Rich Dehlinger, owner of Rick's Sports Apparel. The store is located across the street from where the "Bubble Man" lived.
"He was part of the neighborhood, he's part of the culture," said Dehlinger. "Gave people something to talk about in the neighborhood."
Rick's Sports Apparel employee Abraham Munson-Ellis said he sold a pair of Nike Air Monarchs to Incorvaia last year.
"He was always cheerful and welcoming," said Munson-Ellis whi recalled seeing him often at The Inersection cafe for coffee.
Jim Incorvaia said he has heard stories of the bubbles helping families smile on their way to and from hospital visits.
As much it helped others, the bubbles also gave the "Bubble Man," joy. The Navy veteran suffered from PTSD, according to his brother, along with other health issues. Bubbles allowed Incorvaia to focus on joy. He even thought of the idea when he said he was feeling "blue," and wanted to make himself happier.
"It just gave him a tremendous amount of satisfaction," said Jim Incorvaia, who described his brother as a strange, private man with creativity and a heart of gold.
In an interview with WKBW 15 years ago, Chuck Incorvaia said, "There was a female cop that told me it made her day as she deals with not the greatest people in society all day long, it just lightened up her day as she saw bubbles."
At that time he was buying four to five bottles of bubbles per week, and was surprised at the six people who waited for them on the sidewalk. Fifteen years later his reputation and legacy has impacted far beyond six people, and instead an entire community and city.
Jim Incorvaia said his brother is survived by his son who lives out of state. He plans to have a ceremony around his brother's birthday, May 8, to set up a permanent memorial on the corner where his apartment was. Some are even calling for a bubble machine there.