A Kind Gesture Means So Much

Pamela Young
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Wednesday - October 12, 2011
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Dear Pamela,

I am new to Hawaii, my husband is in the Army and we arrived here mid-November of 2010.

I never wanted to live far away from my family, my career, my whole life. I am a native Virginian. In July 2010 I received notice that my department was being outsourced. My entire world was falling apart at least I thought so at the time. Erik received his orders to Hawaii, so here we are finally getting to live together as a married couple, starting a new life in paradise!

We had a rough start, everything new and unfamiliar. We chose a great house in Makaha. Our household goods were delivered, and while getting our house in order we put the furniture inside and the boxes temporarily outside under the carport. That night it rained hard and the carport flooded with several inches of water, I thought we were in a hurricane! We brought inside what we could, still many boxes were outside and were soaked! I was told it never rains in Waianae really?

While trying to unpack our goods, the majority of which was wet, we decided to try and find a window unit AC to help remove some of the humidity and cool things off a bit. We drove our spanking new Jeep to the NEX appliance store and found an AC. The roads home were treacherous, lots of standing water and ponding. We head into Nanakuli and all of a sudden beeep, beeep, thump, thump, thump. We had a flat tire on our brand new Jeep!

We made the right turn from Farrington Highway onto Nanakuli Avenue and ended up near a bus stop. Then this guy (I call him Mr. G, as I never learned his name) comes walking down from the bus stop, in an oversized old army coat. “Eh, brah, ya got flat tire!”

We open the Jeep gate and look for the jack, and it’s the same size that came with my 12year-old Honda! All three of us are standing in the pouring rain, I am getting ever closer to my breakdown.

Mr. G pipes up, “Brah, that no jack, I go get real jack.” A minute later, here he comes with a jack that you would find in any mechanical garage and he brought the posse! A tall man in a yellow slicker held an umbrella for “auntie” while the guys changed the tire. Another gentleman threw out orange cones so we would not be hit by traffic. Within five minutes the flat tire was off and the new one was on.

The tears started then. I was so incredibly thankful for their assistance, sick of the rain and just generally overwhelmed. I realized he might be one of the many homeless I have heard about, or just a guy trying to make it in a very expensive state.

I ran to my wallet and pulled every cent I had and gave it to Mr. G. Maybe he could use it for a good meal or some new “slippas.”

The absolute selflessness of Mr. G and his posse meant so much to me. I don’t think I have hugged so many strangers in my entire life, all the while tears and rain running down my face. I had forgotten how generous people could be. I think about them each time I drive by that corner in Nanakuli. In hindsight, I don’t know why we did not offer to give Mr. G a ride. I feel awful that we just left him in the rain at the bus stop!

The wonderful folks who helped us at such a bad time had just gotten out of a church service at the house on the corner of Farrington and Nanakuli. What a great group of people. They probably have no idea of the impact they made on me. I am often reminded of that movie Pay It Forward. I am attempting to do that here on the West side.

Catherine Lathrop

Dear Catherine,

A possible first step to paying it forward is to contact the Waianae Community Outreach, which welcomes volunteers for its programs for the homeless. Lots of fine folks lend their support and time to improving their neighborhood. What better way to discover the resources in your community and develop lasting friendships?

(If you know someone who deserves some Applause, send your letters to Pamela Young, MidWeek Applause, KITV, 801 S. King St., Honolulu, HI, 96813 or e-mail pyoung@kitv.com. Include your name, phone number and, if possible, the phone number of your “applaudee” so we can contact him or her.)

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