In an act of kindness, a Hawaii lifeguard helped a disabled veteran fulfill a lifelong dream.
Mike Hicks, a U.S. Army veteran, visited a beach in Oahu with his wife, Ann. Although they enjoyed looking at the water at Pililaau Army Recreation Center in Waianae, Mike is paralyzed from the waist down and could not walk in the water.
Ann told lifeguard Hizson Keali’i Sr. about her husband’s desire to get into the water. He told the pair to come back the following morning.
"It touched my heart, ‘cause I’m blessed everyday to be able to do what someone else only dreams of," Keali’I told Huffington Post.
The next day, Keali’I used a beach wheelchair to push Mike to the ocean, the Army veteran’s first time in the surf since the accident.
The couple came back to the beach a second time to get back into the water. Keali’I decided to help another one of Mike’s dreams come true by going surfing with the veteran. The lifeguard carried Mike into the water, helped him onto a stand-up paddle board and paddled into the water with his eager passenger by his side.
George Kalilikane captured photos of the heartwarming moment and shared them on Facebook.
"There are times in our lives where we are [blessed] to witness something very special," Kalilikane wrote on Facebook, as he recalled the event.
"As I took pictures the man's wife came over and started sharing his story of how a year and a half ago he [had] broken his back and had [lost the] use of everything below his waist. And that he had a bucket list of things he wanted to do. Surfing was on the list but after today is off because of Hizson."
Mike described the experience as "a fantastic feeling of speed and freedom," and "something I never thought I would ever feel again."
"SUP [Surfboards] was the equipment that got the man to the wave," Kalilikane wrote. "But it was Hizson's heart and ‘Aloha Spirit’ that got the man to smile."