I had the honor and privilege of spending a week in Oahu with twelve members of my Immediate family. It really was wonderful.
There was a plan for three cars full of people to go to a local Shave ice shop that was recommended by a long time friend who had moved to Oahu four years ago. The following is a excerpt from a sermon with the theme of being transparent to all, concerning what you believe, and who you really are.
“So, we got our GPS locked in and within a few minutes we were at Uncle Clay’s House of Pure Aloha. We parked and everyone piled into the shave ice store. Not expecting to find sugar-free shave ice I remained outside on a bench.
It was then that I noticed an older gentlemen taking to a few locals. I couldn’t really figure out what the relationship was, but the conversation was real, the hugs implied family, and it was “cute”. To my surprise, when the couple left, the older gentleman stepped over to another group of customers and the genuine conversations began again, and the family hugs, and the pressing of hands.
For some reason I suspected that this was indeed “Uncle Clay” and he was greeting some of his regular customers.
My family began to trickle out, to the front of the store. I mentioned that I thought the older gentleman was the owner. He proved me right by walking over and introducing himself. The first question he asked was, “Have I ever served you before?”
That was a great leadin question, when we all said “No” he then welcomed us each with a hug and then asked our names with sincerity. The following questions were like any questions that you might ask a family member that you haven’t seen for a while.
He was very humble, when we said that his treatment of us was unique, he declined with a shy smile. When I mentioned that I didn’t see any other owners on the sidewalk, talking with customers, he again shyly pushed the suggestion away.
He said his mission was to treat every customer as family, ohana, and to commit to practicing pure aloha. The essence of Hawaiian welcoming.
He was the perfect example of a person living his belief. Presenting exactly who is is to everyone. And remarkably, people were changed by the experience.
Was he a Christian, yes I believe he was. I don’t know what church or what denomination, but his actions and words were aligned. Several times he mentioned how important it was to him that he wanted to serve everyone as his family. And he succeeded.
Later that afternoon I thought about the difficulty of letting people know who you really are. It is taking a big risk to be that open. We have a natural defense that kicks in. If people know where we stand then they will use it against you. Better to be invisible. ”
Now I think it far better to be like Uncle Clay.