Gary came in to report that Sal had overslept and had just gotten to work, so he'd missed Howard's announcement: "He thinks you're making the announcement in five minutes."
So when Sal got out of the bathroom, Howard brought him--and several other staffers--into the studio and announced his retirement.
Sal started crying: "I'm so happy that you've given me--you've made my dreams come true. But it's so bittersweet because I have three little boys. I don't know what to do."
Sal said he was totally unprepared for Howard's retirement: I'm walking into nothing. I'm walking into a burnt house."
Sal apologized: "I'm crying like a little bitch...[but] I f'ed up. I should've saved some money or something."
Howard finally broke the real news: "Were you late today? What happens what you're late? You get goofed on, don't you?"
Sal exploded with joy: "Oh my god! You've gotta be kidding me! I can't believe this! Oh my God! You sold me! You motherf'er! You cocksucker, Howard. You should retire."
...Was Convincing This Rube He Quit
Howard later expressed no remorse about fooling Sal: "He missed two alarms!"
Tim Sabean laughed that Sal never worried about his wife: "The greatest part was, he has three sons. No mention of Christine."
Howard told Sal to start preparing for the future now: "For the next five years, make a plan goddamnit."
Gary laughed: "It really is like the movie 'A Christmas Carol.' You took him to see the future."
Sal's Tears Infect the Crew
Sal explained why he broke down: "I'm not going to hop in my Mercedes, hop on my boat and go to my four or five houses like Robin! I was going to this f'ing shithole that I live in out in Nassau county with my wife and three kids waiting for the next meal. I don't know where the next meal is! Leave me alone!"
Howard said Sal's tears were worth the effort: "Punking you was better than the real announcement."
Robin said Sal's emotion was so real, she had to turn away: "I couldn't look at him and not cry."
George actually did cry: "I knew the story, but...there was real pain there."
Sal's raw tears of thanks almost got Howard to reverse his decision: "You know, the way he was going, I felt bad I resigned. I walked away from a good thing. I was out! Now I've got to do another five years!"