Arlie Gino Smith (aka The Costco Guy) passed away at 1:10am on Tuesday, November 7th, 2017 due to complications from Multiple Sclerosis and Kidney Cancer. Arlie was born on June 7th, 1969 and until recently, was a lifelong resident of San Ramon, Ca.
Arlie is survived by his adoring wife Shari and their loving dog, Tinkerbell. Arlie and Shari were married on April 6th, 2003.
Arlie attended California High School in San Ramon. He loved his country and served in the US Army and Navy from 1989 through 1993. He finished serving his country aboard the USS Niagara Falls. Arlie’s efforts earned him several honors including the National Defense Service Medal, Southwest Asia Service Medal with Bronze Star, and the Sea Service Deployment Ribbon.
Arlie worked at Costco in Danville, California for over twenty-four years and became a local celebrity with his wit, charm and philanthropic spirit. Over the years, thousands of Costco customers and community members eagerly awaited the checkout process as Arlie would engage the children with a smile, friendly chat and mark their receipt with his well-known smiley face.
Although Arlie spent the last few years in a wheelchair he was not limited in his desire to help others. Arlie had a big heart for children battling health issues. His goal was to raise awareness and funds for the UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland. Through Costco and their customers this goal was realized as Arlie helped fundraise over $200k.
Arlie was so beloved by the Costco members that members formed a group called Arlie’s Angels. This group presented Arlie and Shari with a paid vacation to their favorite place in the world, the Laguna Beach Surf and Sand Resort. When Bridgette Loghnane (the Costco member who started Arlie's Angels) told Arlie she wanted to raise money to send him and his wife on vacation he was adamant that he preferred that instead they help him fulfill his dream of being the number one Costco fundraiser for UCSF Children's Hospital. When Arlie's Angels presented them with the vacation with news cameras there, the story went viral.
In response to Arlie’s Angels, Arlie said the following “Look at these people, 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."
Prior to being diagnosed with MS, Arlie loved hiking Half Dome in Yosemite, taking bike rides and rollerblading. Once confined to a wheelchair, Arlie could often be seen on the Iron Horse Trail on his scooter with Shari by his side and Tinkerbell riding shotgun. Arlie never took himself too seriously. He was always joking and ribbing others. He loved music, movies and was very comfortable being the center of attention.
Arlie lived life with zest and passion. He will be dearly missed by an entire community and thought of fondly.
Family, friends, and the extended Costco family are invited to a celebration of his life to be held Friday, November 17, 2017 @ 12:30 pm, at Community Presbyterian Church in Danville, CA.
In lieu of flowers, check donations can be made out to "UCSF Benioff Children's Oakland Arlie Fund" and mailed to: UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital Oakland Foundation 2201 Broadway Suite 600 Oakland, CA 94612.