Hawaiian skyline

Kindness flourishes in the Aloha State

Written by Kindness Ambassador Gina Harber

Ever since I was a little girl, I have always wanted to visit Hawaii. I’m not sure where the strong desire came from, but it was definitely there. When I turned 40, I vowed that I would begin saving so that I could go for my 50th birthday celebration.

About a year before I turned 50, my dream began to take shape as I started planning which islands I would visit and things I would do. Armed with my “want to see and do” itinerary, my boyfriend and I flew to our first destination—Honolulu. For someone like me who doesn’t do a lot of flying, the six hours from Phoenix were excruciating. When our shuttle arrived, it took us to the wrong hotel. Once the front desk clerk discovered the issue, he was very helpful in trying to get us to the right place. As we were waiting in the lobby, he came over and offered us bottled water. It was a small gesture, but it meant a lot since we were frustrated, tired and hungry.

We were up early the next day and walked across the street to finally get some much needed nourishment before catching our tour bus. The waitress who served us was amazing! My boyfriend wanted something hearty, but didn’t see exactly what he wanted on the menu, so she spoke to the cook and brought out something special just for him. We mentioned bacon at some point in the conversation and several minutes later, a plate full of crispy bacon appeared on our table. My boyfriend loved the dish, and was impressed with her attention to detail. This lovely Hawaiian woman went out of her way to make us happy and we were so grateful for her kindness.

After a few fun-filled days in Honolulu, we headed to the airport for a brief flight to Maui. This would be our first experience with TSA. We assumed that it would be like every other airport we visited in the U.S.—long lines and generally grumpy or non-cooperative TSA agents. Boy were we wrong! Every single agent we encountered was smiling and genuinely willing to help. We were so surprised that we asked one of the agents why he was so happy and he said, “I live in paradise. Why wouldn’t I be happy?” How could I possibly argue with that answer!

When we arrived at our condo on Maui we were greeted by the property manager (we later discovered that she visited Maui 20 years earlier and loved it so much that she decided to stay). We exchanged the usual pleasantries and went excitedly to our room. It was nice, but we quickly discovered that there was no air conditioning, which was not a huge deal since we wouldn’t be in the room that much, but the one fan in the room also didn’t work. We walked back to the manager, mentioned the problem with the fan, and she was kind enough to lend us one of hers.

guy playing a guitar

The town where we stayed was quaint, and we went out to explore our surroundings. I noticed the side of a building that read “The best pizza in town”, so we decided to stop in. The pizza did not disappoint and we were fortunate enough to stay and to listen to some live entertainment—one guy with a guitar. We engaged him in conversation after his first set and he told us that he and wife also visited the island a few years earlier and decided to stay. We began to notice a trend. He said they loved the beauty of the island, the laid back lifestyle and the friendly people.

The town where we stayed was quaint, and we went out to explore our surroundings. I noticed the side of a building that read “The best pizza in town”, so we decided to stop in. The pizza did not disappoint and we were fortunate enough to stay and to listen to some live entertainment—one guy with a guitar. We engaged him in conversation after his first set and he told us that he and wife also visited the island a few years earlier and decided to stay. We began to notice a trend. He said they loved the beauty of the island, the laid back lifestyle and the friendly people.

Kauai was our final island of the trip, and it was the most beautiful; lush flowers and greenery lined the massive mountains. On our way to a secluded beach, we stopped at a small town with several small hut-like shops clustered together. One of huts was a chocolate shop. The woman inside gave us all the yummy details about her chocolates and we were happy to oblige her with a purchase. While the chocolate was good, I was most drawn to our conversation. We probably chatted with her for at least 40 minutes. I told her of my long-time dream to visit Hawaii and she said, “When the island calls you, you have to go.” She told me that if I decided to live there, she (the island) would take care of me.

Hawaii was a dream come true for me, but it was so much more than that. While there is no doubt that it is stunningly beautiful, I discovered that the lokomaikaʻi (kindness) of the people living there is what really makes it beautiful.

Photos by Gina Harber

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are those of the writer; they do not necessarily reflect the views of Better World International or The Good Cards.