Living in Hawaii, especially Maui, brings certain advantages and reminders:
One night, my daughter was out late. She was playing a whore in Best Little Whorehouse in Texas (I’m a proud papa!), and they had a cast party. To my dismay, she forgot the one rule we have, the “you must call by 11 to let me know your itinerary” rule. At 11:07, I sent her a text asking her where she was. She said that she was still at the party and would go to a friend’s house for some cake. Cool, that’s fine. Now I know.
At 12:10, she calls. I was doing laundry getting ready to teach ballet the next day, so I missed the call. I crawl into bed, not looking at the phone, and get a second call. She’d hit a curb and her muffler was on the ground.
I got dressed, jumped in the car, and headed to the theater. When I got there, I crawled under the car (as if I knew what I was doing) to look at what the damage was and to see if there was anything I could do to help. The girls had done a great job tying it up, but it still wouldn’t make the 40 minute drive up the mountain. I packed my daughter into the car and our friend and headed home.
However, I needed gas. I stopped at the nearest gas station, turned off my car, got out to pump, but they were closed. Got back in the car, headed to the next one in town. I got out of the car and filled the tank. As I got in to drive away, the car didn’t start. Great. It’s 2:00 in the morning and there was nothing for me to do. We phoned a friend to jump the car; she was on her way. Either it sounded like it was a dead battery, the alternator’s shot, or there was a problem with the starter. I only know how to deal with two of the three and am not an expert in automobile diagnosis. We got the cables set up and the car still wouldn’t start. We were stuck.
Just then, a man walks over and puts his head under the hood, asks if we need help, and gets to work. I let him know what the problem was, and he asked me to start the car so he could listen to the problem. This middle-aged, local man appeared to have genuine intentions, but in the middle of the night, with three girls and just me, we needed to be cautious. He took the battery apart and started cleaning connecters. We held flashlights, offered him melting ice-cream cake, poured coke onto the battery (like we were told), and got in his way. He said not to leave and that he would be right back with more tools.
While we waited, we told stories (to make my daughter feel better and) to pass the time. After about 45 minutes, we decided that we’d been abandoned. It was time to call AAA and get towed. Just then, he comes driving back up. He put on a head wrapped flashlight and went back to work. We told stories, and he was greatly entertained. All of us having a theater background were helpful in making his work more enjoyable, since we were all pretty useless, anyway. We laughed and carried on, one by one, going through all of our horrific car tragedies. At this point, 3:00 in the morning, I realized that we hadn’t had been introduced. I introduced myself and then the girls, and he said, “David… Kawika.”
“Which do you prefer?” I asked.
“Either is fine.”
I went with Kawika. He then said to start the car. It turned on. He explained that the cells in the battery were dead and that I needed a new one. I looked at mine on the ground while a new one was in the car. He walked away with my battery and his tools and asked if I wanted to keep it. “I wouldn’t know what to do with it,” I answered honestly, so he kept walking. I was dumbfounded. He was done and was just going to leave.
He obviously fixed cars for a living, so I said, “I obviously have to pay you.”
“Whatever.” He said happily.
“Whatever you can.”
I paused at his response. Who was this man? He got into his car, and I quietly asked the girls if one of them would marry him. “When do I pay you?”
“It doesn’t matter.” He responded. It doesn’t matter?!
“You have my number. Pay me what you can when you can. If you have any more problems, give me a call. Kawika’s Roadside Service.”
Here’s the thing: He doesn’t know if I’m ever going to pay him or call him or contact him ever again. He didn’t take down my number and Aly is hard to link to Alexander. He really has no way to find me. Technically, he gifted me, and there is nothing I’m required to do about it.
Don’t worry; Kawika will be reimbursed for his late night work, more than I can give, but adequately in proportion to his Aloha, time, and expertise.
His Aloha was a reminder as to what it means to live with integrity, love for people, and giving your gifts.
OH! It’s not over… He went back to the theater (this is 3:30 AM!) and fixed my daughter’s car. He wouldn’t take any money from her because he was not happy with the job he had done. Few people have that much integrity in their work. He explained that he would give her an estimate when it was done correctly, or don’t bother paying. (AND THERE IS NO CATCH!)
Needless to say, he has a client for life, or several. In addition, as part of my payment, I’d like you to add him to your list (if you aren’t already sworn to a family member or dear friend of the family) as your mechanic. He’ll come to you 24/7 and will fix any car to the best of his ability until you can drive. Please add Kawika to your phone list.
I’d also like you to do this (even if you don’t live on Maui): Please give him a call, and tell him that you had read the story about him coming to the rescue of three girls and a man at the Schell station in the middle of the night. Thank him for keeping true Aloha Spirit alive. He needs to know that he is appreciated for being amazing. This small gesture will encourage his wonderful behavior and will take very little time. Be brave, step out of the box, and give this wonderful man a call. Just tell him “thank you for being a guardian angel.” He’s certainly mine.
Kawika, we can all learn from you.
Mahalo Nui Loa!