Community Gives Back to Local Legend Mango Man
Anyone who lives in a small community will know how close knit these places can be. It’s possible to know everyone in your little area of the world, and these places often have a huge range of characters that everyone has their own story of.
These characters give something special to their community, and sometimes the residents band together to try and return the favour.
Take Kailua, for example. It’s a beachside neighbourhood in Oahu, Hawaii, and it has one such character who goes by the name of Mango Man.
Mango Man, whose real name is John Cruz, is a homeless man who has been a steady feature in the area for decades. Easily distinguishable by his walker, army jacket, and knee-length dreadlocks, Mango Man is thought to be in his late 60s. He got his unusual nickname because of his penchant for sleeping underneath mango trees.
Back in January, a Facebook page dedicated to the neighbourhood, I Love Kailua!, posted about Mango Man. John Cruz was apparently a bright young track star in high school, before going on to join the military and later, fight in the Vietnam War.
Although Mango Man has family living nearby, he has chosen to live a quiet and independent life. He’s become something of a monument in the community, a part of their home, with the residents all having special memories of him.
Daniela Stolfi-Tow, who wrote the post, spoke of her own memories of the man, sharing food with him every morning while she waited for the bus to school. She said that although he hardly talked, she always felt safe in his presence.
Other residents felt the same way and shared their own warm memories of Mango Man in the comments of the post, showing just how many people’s lives John Cruz has touched.
He’s been watching over the residents and giving advice to those in need for a long time, but he never asks for anything in return. But now it was the turn of the community to give something back to John Cruz.
Remember how we told you he has a walker? This is because he was hit by a car a couple of years ago. In April, some residents went to see him, to surprise him with a new walker.
However, when they found him, he was badly in need of immediate medical attention. Through the combined efforts of the residents, EMS, and Honolulu Police and Fire Departments, Mango Man was successfully transferred to hospital.
While his condition hasn’t been disclosed, to protect his privacy, we do know that Mango Man was placed in intensive care and expected to have a long stay in hospital.
The residents of Kailua have been understandably feeling a little lost without their living landmark and were going to place a handmade sign near Mango Man’s favourite spot. Hawaiian clothing company UDown provided a proper road sign for them, depicting the man with his walker. Everyone wants to make sure the message is clear: Mango Man’s spot is being saved for when he is ready to come home.
The community has finally been able to give something back to John Cruz, and hopefully he’ll be back in no time. Get well soon, Mango Man!