Placido Salazar is alive and well. The Vietnam War veteran has had to dispel rumors of his death after he appeared in a public service announcement for the SAPD's Walk Safe Campaign.
"She was able to contact me by phone to find out that I was still very much alive," Salazar said. "Never in my wildest dreams did it cross my mind that we would have that kind of reaction."
In the video, Salazar plays the ghost of a dead accident victim. His real-life granddaughter and great-granddaughter are also in the video, mourning his death.
Shortly after the PSA aired, Salazar's wife got a call from a friend asking for details of his death.
Salazar said he received dozens of calls over the weekend from friends across the country. "I got calls from New York state, Washington, D.C., Washington state, California. Several of my friends were crying when … I answered their calls," Salazar said.
Despite the slight inconvenience of having to prove you are alive, Salazar is happy to see that people are taking notice of the public safety campaign.
He said the PSA's message is close to his heart. "A few years back, I was in the crosswalk and this old man ran the light and hit me," Salazar said.
Having cheated death more than once, Salazar said the confusion has reminded him of his own mortality. "I guess you could say it's a good dress rehearsal for when I actually die," he said.