majored in education at Temple, but put his studies on hold for a few years while having financial hardship.He's worked as a busboy for eight years at Saloon (750 S. 7th), where he struck up a friendship with one generous regular at the Italian restaurant who volunteered to pay his Temple tuition.
During a visit to Saloon last summer, Charles Barkley asked Abate how he was enjoying teaching, and was disappointed to learn that Abate had still not returned to Temple because of problems securing financial aid. Abate, 28, of South Philly, started at Temple in 1997, months after graduating from St. John Neumann High.
Sir Charles told Abate he would like to help him with his tuition, and Abate wasn't sure how to respond. Barkley didn't give him much time, telling Abate that he had the length of Barkley's meal to decide. Abate wisely accepted.
When we joked to Barkley that people were going to be calling him today asking for money, he said "People always call me asking for money, and Christian never asked, which is why I wanted to help him out."Abate says he will be forever grateful to Barkley who is "giving me a second shot at doing something with my life."