Aloha Spirit Lives in Hilo

Monday Musings by Melinda M.

A dozen roses. Five gift bags stuffed with local snacks. Twenty-four cupcakes. Six balloons in the colors of the Italian flag.


These generous gifts might be expected at your going-away party. At your birthday party. Maybe even your retirement party. But I did not expect them at my daughter’s last day of her part-time, temporary job at a drive-in.


She had worked there for a few months to earn spending money for a year of studying in Italy. She’s a good worker and a nice kid so, if there had been a card signed by everyone wishing her well, I could see that. But when I picked her up from her last day of work, I was completely overwhelmed by the generosity and aloha of her co-workers, one of whom even stopped by during the 6 a.m. – 11 a.m. shift on her off-day to drop off a gift.


Reading their cards and hand-written notes (one person had simply folded some binder paper around some cash and written a note when she didn’t have time to get a card) brought tears to my eyes. I feel so grateful that my daughters are being raised in this community, where this generosity – the kind that doesn’t keep track of who gave what to whom and how much – is exchanged regularly. From their community, they are learning to appreciate other people, to show affection, to be generous, because they have been the beneficiaries of these actions. It is in these moments of unexpected grace that I feel the “Aloha Spirit” and challenge myself to look for opportunities to demonstrate it too.

Thank you, Hilo, for making me want to better myself and showing my girls how to care for others without any expectation of reciprocation.


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