As of my first trip to Oahu in 2009, Jose had worked at a diner in downtown Waikiki for 29 years. He was our server that morning - a soothing elixir to our hungover and woozy spirits.
All we wanted when we plopped ourselves into the vinyl booth was something to fill our bellies. What we got was a lesson in generosity, humility, and the simple joy of living.
You see, back in 2002, Jose had a regular customer – a rather brusque man who always seemed to be in a hurry. When the man neglected to show up for his pre-corporate drudgery breakfast for a few weeks, Jose asked him where he’d been the first morning he showed up. The man told him he was very sick and had just been put on the list to receive a kidney donation. Jose told him he would get tested to see if he was a match. Incredulous but undoubtedly intrigued, the man agreed.
Through a quirky twist of fate, Jose was a match. This server, who'd thanklessly served him breakfast nearly every morning, was about to give him much, much more than a frothy cappuccino. He was going to give him another chance at life.
And he did.
At the time of my visit, they remained great friends.