On Sunday, Allie and Dada decided to hit the beach but Allie wanted her sand toys, so I went back alone to our hotel room to grab them. I also decided I would go to the hotel’s gift shop to get another bottle of spray sunblock, since were had 3 more days left and maybe a quarter ounce of sunblock for it. It’s not often I get to run errands child-free, so I wanted to take advantage.

In line at the giftshop cash register, I overheard a male voice behind me saying, “Oh, look, they have small bottles of vodka there behind the counter.”
Female voice: “You wanna get one?”
Male: “Do you have any idea how much bottles like that would cost here? It would be three times the price of a big bottle at home.”
I instantly thought of the giant bottle of vodka we picked up the first day from Costco, of which we’d drunk very little due to the facts that I don’t drink much, and that hubby was too busy regurgitating everything he ate and drank the first night and hasn’t been in the mood to test his stomach thereafter. I turned and found myself facing an older couple, in their late 60s. “Are you guys going to be at this hotel for much longer? We have a really large bottle of vodka upstairs in our room, and we’re leaving Tuesday and won’t be able to drink it all.”
They were surprised, and we chatted a bit about when we were all leaving (they’re going home to the East Coast on Tuesday, as well) and how horrified the wife was at the price of food that morning for breakfast, and then it was my turn at the register. After I paid for my sunblock, I waited near the store exit for them. I think they thought I’d walk away, not serious about my vodka offer, and appeared pleasantly surprised to see me there. Their room was in the same tower as ours, just a floor down, so we went there first, chatting along the way. The trip was on their bucket list, he was recently retired from the aerospace industry, she’s on the brink of retirement herself, they had taken a cruise that stopped here and decided spontaneously to take up the option to disembark on Oahu, stay for a few days, and then fly back home from here. They were Disney Vacation Club timeshare holders and never quite thought they’d make it out to the Aulani, but this is a splurge they thought would be their last opportunity to do before they both retired and had a limited fixed income. They talked about how they discovered that as Vacation Club members, they had a 10% discount everywhere in the Aulani, but how outrageous prices still were. In exchange for the vodka, they offered me the use of their discount for anything in the hotel shop, and I confessed that I HAD been eyeing an Aulani signature cotton jersey. They were completely friendly and open, but as we approached their room, I had a brief thought of how easy it would be for them, once in their room, to rob me. We’ll call thoughts like those an occupational hazard. I reminded myself that this was my idea, not theirs.

In their room, we emptied out Gloria’s water bottle, Ron located his Disney Vacation Club Membership Card, and we headed back to our room. When there, I poured almost half our giant bottle of vodka into their water bottle (and would’ve poured more but Gloria stopped me and reminded me that they’re only staying a few more nights and can’t take it with them on the plane, despite the fact that Ron was saying, “Oh, I’ll finish it! I have a drink of Ketel One every night at home!”), and since they were hurting from the price of breakfast that morning, gave them 3 cartons of assorted Chobani Greek yogurt (we bought practically a palletful from Costco) and assorted sliced turkey and ham, as well, since they had English muffins in their room. Now I’d feel less guilty about having to leave all that food behind or throw it away, given that had really too much of everything thanks to the hubby and Allie’s lack of appetite the first few days.

Not knowing if we’d pass by each other again, Ron suggested we go down to the giftshop immediately to use their discount to buy that shirt I’d wanted, so we walked back to their room to drop off the vodka and food (and they returned a clean plate to me to replace the plate I’d used to put their luncheon meat on, just in case the resort counted the numbers of dishes, etc. in the fully stocked kitchen after the guests leave and would charge me incidentals for a missing bowl), then we all walked together to the giftshop. I learned that this cruise was a combination birthday and anniversary celebration. Ron was turning 70 and they were married something like 43 years. At the giftshop, I went to the clothing section while Gloria and Ron went to look at a different section, and soon Ron came to me and took the shirt out of my hand. “We’ve decided to buy this for you instead of just using our discount for you,” he said. A Disney t-shirt in Hawaii is very overpriced, and I protested. I told them this practically nullifies the free vodka they got; they may as well just have bought those bottles themselves, then (altho what I gave them was close to double those giftshop bottles). Gloria said that she doesn’t consider money spent on food/drink to be money well-spent as it’s just gone as soon as it appears, but money on a souvenir, she’s happy to spend. She said she’s been jaded and pessimistic about people in the world these days, but meeting me and being the subject of my spontaneous generosity toward strangers has restored some of her faith in “young people.” They both insisted that I take this gift from them, remember the story I can tell of the origin of this shirt in my wardrobe, and to “think of us whenever you wear it.”

We parted with a hug.

By the time I got back to the pool and found hubby and Allie, I was relieved they had passed the time well and weren’t angry I took so long, nor minded that I gave half our food away. I told them I had a story to tell by way of explanation about why I took so long. (By the time we checked out of the resort a few days later, we STILL had food left over in the fridge, and I had tried to get Gloria to take more when they were in our room, but she wouldn’t.)

I never did see Gloria and Ron again, but I hope Ron had a great birthday the following week.