With on-going road maintenance, water main breaks, potholes, and congested traffic on Hawaii’s roads, a driver’s patience can be stretched to the limit. In spite of frustrating conditions and traffic jams, visitors are often surprised that the aloha spirit lives on—especially on the roadways. Daily, Hawaii’s drivers good-naturedly allow fellow commuters into their lane and the appreciated deed is, in turn, reciprocated. The accommodated motorist often pokes his hand out the window and gives a quick shaka or wave of thanks. While an annoyed Mainlander may jam an angry fist out the window at an inattentive driver sitting at a red light, island residents wait quietly for the daydreamer to notice—without tooting their horn.
Cultural diversity a factor
What accounts for this flourishing island phenomenon? Perhaps the answer lies in cultural diversity. Many of Hawaii’s people come from islands and lands throughout the Pacific Rim and Asia, which are known for hospitality, patience, and reserve. Throughout their generations, and from an early age, Hawaiian children and many immigrants are taught respect for their elders and to put others ahead of themselves. And while there are certainly exceptions, these lessons carry over into adulthood—and onto the highways. Respect, patience, and affability are infectious. Visitors and new residents are affected and soon begin to exhibit the aloha spirit as well.
Checking up on aloha
In many countries and on the Mainland, reports of weapons-grade road rage and insolent pistol-packing drivers are not uncommon. Sadly, some of this tragic behavior has lead to incarceration, severe injury, and loss of life. Let’s not let the following imaginary obituary be the fate of our beloved “friend” Aloha Spirit:
After a prolonged illness, Common Courtesy passed away today. Sadly, Courtesy was overcome by disease and old age. Mourning his passing are Common Decency, Manners, and Kindness, all with terminal illnesses of their own. Common Courtesy is survived by Indecency, Callousness, and Insensitivity. Relatives ask that in place of flowers, donations be made to the World Harmony Garden Fund, where weeds of hatred will be replaced by love, the scourge of anger replaced with the pesticide of patience, and seeds of prejudice over sown with seeds of tolerance. Your personal donations will help ensure the roads will be a safer place, children will be nurtured, and the disabled and elderly will no longer feel invisible.
Make a difference. Spread the seeds of aloha. Today.