An act of kindness from a stranger in Hawaii is comforting doctors fighting the coronavirus in one of the hardest hit U.S. cities.
Dr. Jose Medina is a doctor with the BronxCare Health System. He is on the frontlines of the pandemic in the Bronx, New York.
“This is totally like something out of a movie, and I don’t think the movies are that intense,” Dr. Medina said.
According to New York City, the Bronx is the borough with the highest coronavirus cases, hospitalizations and deaths per 100,000 people.
“There were so many lives lost. It was very, very difficult,” Dr. Medina said about what it is like being a doctor during the COVID-19 pandemic.
However, amid all the devastation, Dr. Medina recently received something that made him smile.
“I went into the mail room and I saw that the box said, ‘Aloha from Hawaii,” Dr. Medina explained.
The only issue was that the box wasn’t addressed to him.
“I said, ‘OK, let me just take a look,’ and it said [it’s] for the hospital, and I saw who was sending the box and it was from an address where I used to live,” Dr. Medina explained.
Dr. Medina’s wife is from Hawaii, and the couple used to live on Oahu many years ago. He figured a family member was trying to send him a package, so he took the box.
Inside the package was a letter written by a complete stranger 5,000 miles away.
“I was watching the news and I was just like this is so awful. I mean what’s happening across the United States,” said Karen Leilani Paty, who sent the care package to New York.
Paty is a teacher at Wahiawa Middle School. She said the package was addressed to the hospital because she just wanted to do some good.
“I mean if only they knew that we care about them and I said, ‘That’s it! I’m going to send packages to the hospitals,'” she said.
Little did she know, the care package would land in the hands of Dr. Medina who used to live a few doors down from her.
“To get something from Hawaii was like, ‘Is this for real? Did we really get this? Yeah, yeah we got it!’ and we had macadamia nuts– the chocolates. They were delicious. They didn’t last 10 minutes,” Dr Medina said.
Dr. Medina shared the package with his coworkers. After all, it was addressed to the hospital.
“That gave us motivation to keep going, and mostly thinking that it’s not only our community, it’s people from all over the U.S. paying attention to what were doing here,” Dr. Medina said about how much he cherished receiving the gift from Hawaii.
Dr. Medina’s wife Heather said she isn’t one bit surprised someone from Hawaii would do something so selfless.
“There’s something special about being raised in Hawaii or coming from Hawaii that you just have this generous nature about you, and you want to make other people feel that love as well,” Heather Medina said.
The story of complete strangers coming together while remaining 5,000 miles apart is a lesson that a little bit of aloha can go a long way.
“We were really grateful. I think that she thinks it’s a small gesture, but for us it was huge,” Dr. Medina exclaimed.