writers feature: Mad Max Hawaii
Although this is a poorly taken photograph, it means much more than its aesthetic value more to me. This was taken by a homeless man named Max who I met when I first arrived in Hawaii. I had flown into Kona airport only to find that my luggage hadn’t arrived and that the only bus to the other side of the island was the next day. Tired from flying, I hiked into town and managed to get a room in the hostel for the night. Before dawn the next morning I decided to take the bus to the farm I planned to stay at. As I was waiting, I met Max for the first time. The first thing he said after introducing himself to me was “You can call me Mad Max”. When the bus pulled up, I realized I didn’t have exact change for the fare, so I couldn’t board. I explained the situation to Max (who was still sitting nearby), but he told me not to worry; another bus would leave that afternoon and he would show me around town in the meantime. Throughout the day, he walked me around town, introduced me to other locals, fed me and taught me about the place. The entire time, Max was talking to and helping out the people he met. He brought antibiotic cream to a homeless friend of his and applied it to a staph infection on his foot. We also met another WWOOFer named Brett who had run out of money and who asked Max if he knew of any farms nearby looking for help. Max called a friend who operated a small farm and personally vouched for Brett, securing the job for him. Later that day, Max called this same friend to drive me out of town to the airport when I found out my bags had arrived. Not only did his friend do that, he also brought us to a nearby lava flow beach (in the picture) because he insisted that we had to see it and took us to get pizza after. There Max, who relied on food stamps, gave Brett half of his food because he knew Brett had no money and was hungry. Although this short journey set me two days behind schedule and cost me extra of what limited money I had, it was amazing to meet someone who was so decent and genuinely caring. It reinforced an important fact I have come to realize: neither a person’s living situation, nor their lifestyle determine their quality as a decent human being. Although Max’s lifestyle definitely had much to do with certain problems in his life, this never had an impact on the way he treated other people. He never missed an opportunity to help another person. Brett and I later reunited and repeatedly wondered how Max was doing. We both agreed that if anything resembling karma exists, that man deserves good things to come his way. Max’s actions exemplify Aloha at its best and represent what I love most about Hawaii; it’s not merely a beautiful place, it’s full of beautiful people. Like Max, most of the people I met in Hawaii were incredibly genuine and warm-hearted toward each other. I hope Max is doing well and that good things come to him soon.
BennyView other posts by staff stuff