I woke up greeted by the beautiful Hawaiian sunset. There were birds chirping and the clouds were parting. I ate my bowl of oatmeal out on the deck with my family and we were all extra cheery this morning because it was my cousin’s birthday!
She said that because it was our last sunny day for a while we should go to her favorite beach in Waianae. Her and her boyfriend had a small boat that they wanted to take out and we all wanted to do a bit of snorkeling. The drive over from Kuilua was pretty far, maybe about 45 minutes. We passed right through Honolulu and saw some pretty cool scenes along the way. I was excited to go and see a new place that my cousin spoke so highly of.
In this area of Hawaii, you need to be pretty careful with your stuff. There is a huge homeless population here and leaving valuables and cars unattended is sometimes too tempting of an offer to pass up. If you want a good tip, never park your car in a place where you see broken glass. Even tiny fragments could mean that there has been a break in there recently. I’m not trying to scare you, I’m just trying to make sure you keep all your stuff safe so you can have piece of mind while you are swimming or surfing. Speaking of which, I did not follow my own advice…
I got to the beach after a long car ride so anxious to stretch my legs and go for a swim. I wrapped my phone up in my shirt so it wouldn’t get any sand in it and put it with my cousin’s stuff next to the boat. After cooling off with a quick swim I helped them get the boat into the water. The surf was pretty rough so we needed to find a calmer part of the beach. Like a team of sled dogs, we pushed the boat down the sandy beach. It was actually really fun, with three people, you could almost run full speed with this thing, but only for about 10 seconds and then you would be exhausted. We finally found a part of the beach that had only a little bit of chop and we decided this would be the best place to put the boat in..
My cousin in her boyfriend would wait for a calm in between the waves and then give the boat the final push into the water. This was always going to be difficult, and even after doing this for a whole summer, they still flipped the boat twice before a successful launch. I can’t imagine how many times I would’ve flipped this boat and I was actually impressed at how well they handled it. The two of them drifted off shore until they were barely within sight of the beach, and I went back to get a crew of snorkelers together
We paddled just off-shore to get into the deeper water. Underneath the waves, I found a beautiful bouquet of coral and brightly colored fish. It was so nice to be in tropical water again. It had been so long since my last trip to the Carribean or Hawaii that I had really been missing the tropical fish and coral reefs. We waddled around for about an hour. My mom and aunts had snorkels on, but I just had my goggles. I don’t technically snorkel, because I like to free-dive so much and the snorkel just slows me down. I also feel more free without the mask and everything.
Up ahead, we noticed a beautiful sea turtle. My family stayed to watch it for a minute or two and then kept going. I stayed behind to watch it from a distance and saw it swim a little bit and then come up for air. It was so amazing to watch this beautiful creature in its natural habitat. I was so glad we came during sea turtle season because I really could never get tired of seeing them in the wild. After I felt like I had seen enough, I swam back to shore to dry off in the sun. I went to look few a few bags to find my phone, but it was no where to be found.
I began to panic a little bit. There are so many things that could’ve happened to it. It could’ve been lost in the sand, stolen or taken into the water by mistake. Then it hit me, it may have been packed onto the boat. I had put it right next to all the stuff they were taking on the boat, so they couldn’t be blamed for taking it with them. I was willing to bet that everything on the boat was wet by this point, especially after their rocky launch into the water. I saw them coming back into shore and I ran over. Sure enough, there was my shirt all rolled up with my phone inside of it. It was completely soaked.
They felt so bad and I told them a dozen times that it was 100% my fault, which was completely true. I would’ve done the same thing if there was a pile of stuff ready to go onto the boat. I checked the phone and it was very clear that there was some water damage. I tried my best to dry it off but within minute the screen was completely black. I had only had this phone for a couple of months and now it was completely ruined.
We called the apple store on the way home but they wouldn’t be open until later that week. The one thing I knew about water damage is that the longer you wait, the harder it is to repair. In desperation, I asked if they had any recommendations for freelance phone repair and they had one. I don’t remember what the name was, I don’t even know if the guy had a legitimate business, but I will definitely never forget the encounter we had with him. I called the guy up and he was more than willing to take a look at the phone. He told us to meet him at the whole foods in Kuilua. Not a great start.
We got to the Whole Foods right on time and waited in front for about 10 minutes for him to show up. Just then, a motorcycle pulled into the parking lot, and a guy through his leg over and removed his helmet. With an entrance like this, it had to be him. “Hey, are you ______?” I asked. He nodded and held out his hand “lemme see the phone” he said. I gave it to him and without even making eye contact with me he grabbed it and walked right by me. “Time is of the essence” he exclaimed. Now thinking that my phone had just been stolen, I chased after the guy. “Wait, can you fix it?” I asked. “Oh definitely, I’ll have it done in 30 minutes. Just come back and I’ll have it ready for you.” “Do you have a receipt or something you can give me?” I wondered. I know we were on the islands, but I just was not used to conducting business in this manner and I didn’t want to just leave a stranger with my phone for 30 minutes. “No but you can have my motorcycle helmet as collateral if you want” he replied. This was getting dangerously close to one of the weirdest conversations I’ve ever had but I figured the phone was useless in anyone’s hands but his so I decided to just go along with it. Worst case scenario if he stole the phone I could probably get a new one for little to no cost.
When we returned, we found our guy in the zone. He sat there with my phone completely in pieces on one of the whole foods eating tables. There were screws so small they were nearly invisible to the naked eye, but that didn’t stop him. He was in his element, working on his true calling. As we got there, another woman was leaving with a newly fixed phone. “He’s the best” she said to us, as she walked off. This whole foods was his office, his playground, his home. It was wrong for me to judge him and not know raw talent when I saw it. This guy WAS the best.
“All fixed” he said. I was still in disbelief. I thought this phone was trashed and it was fixed right in front of my eyes like magic. We paid a fraction of what we would’ve at apple, and we got one of the better stories of the whole trip out of the deal!
I had learned my lesson. From this point forward I would take much better care of my phone. Our hero hopped onto his motorcycle and sped off. I imagined that, like a superhero, he was driving off to wherever he was needed most.