We’ve all heard of an “Aha! moment”—when something confusing suddenly makes sense or a brilliant idea shows up out of the blue. Well, it seems that in Hawaii, there’s also something known as an “Aloha! moment”—an occasion that offers someone an opportunity to bestow an act of love or kindness.
What happens when an “Aloha! Moment” meets and “Aha! Moment?” The good deed gets paid forward, of course.
Chloe Marino was shopping at a Kahului, Hawaii supermarket with her 5-month-old son. As sometimes happens, she got distracted and accidentally left her wallet behind.
Luckily, the wallet was spotted by eagle-eyed store security guard Aina Townsend, who volunteered to return it to its owner after his shift. Not having a car, the plucky 22-year-old took it upon himself to bicycle for nearly an hour—uphill three miles—to the Marinos’ door.
“You know, I lost a wallet before too and it’s the worst thing in the world,” Townsend told CNN. “I was just doing what I felt was the right thing to do.”
Chloe, who didn’t even realize she’d misplaced her wallet, was blown away by Townsend’s determination as well as his willingness to help out a total stranger.
Her husband, Gray was impressed as well. So impressed, that he posted an account of Townsend’s good deed to his Facebook page:
“On Saturday my wife left her wallet in the shopping cart of Foodland in Kahului by the mall. After loading the baby and groceries into the car, she hadn’t even noticed it was gone.
Several hours later we had a knock on our home door. It was the security guard from Foodland. He had found the wallet, and after seeing that we didn’t come back for it. He got on his bicycle and he pedaled miles to Waiehu where we lived, getting the address from her ID. He literally rode his bicycle to return her wallet. Completely full of everything important to her including cash. Nothing was so much as moved.
The security guard said his name was Aina Jose. He works at the Kahului Food Land (on Maui). Words cannot do this gentleman justice. He truly is what is right on our island and in this world.”
The Aha! moment followed soon after.
Gray Marino’s pal Greg Gaudet was inspired not only by Townsend’s selfless act but also by the young man’s story—inspired enough to set up a Go-Fund-Me page to see if folks could pull together enough money so Townsend might be able to trade in his bike for a car to make his daily commute to work.
“…It looks like this young man moved to Maui 5 years ago to be with the woman he loved. Now they have kids, and he works security at the grocery store to support his wife and him and put himself through college. But what really got me was that he rides his bike to work and school every day because he doesn’t have a car, and has been doing this for 5 years. When I put myself in his position after a long day of work and school, wanting to go home to see my family and go to bed, but choosing to ride my bike to the next town miles away instead to return this women’s wallet, I know this guy has a huge heart. This shows the effect that one act of kindness and selflessness can have and the way we can impact the world by repeating these actions.”
Townsend’s good karma has thus far translated into more than $24,000 in car-worthy donations, exceeding the original funding goal of $5,000 by nearly $19,000.
“There were a few times in my life where people did a few things that made a really big impact,” Gaudet told CNN. “He deserves it… He’s been working hard for a long time. He’s a good guy. He deserves a break.”
For one young man in Hawaii who was only trying to do the right thing, we’re happy to report that sometimes what goes around really does come around—and around and around again. Aloha!