Good Samaritans spring into action when surfer's wheelchair stol - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Good Samaritans spring into action when surfer's wheelchair stolen in Waikiki

(Image: Hawaii News Now) (Image: Hawaii News Now)
(Image: Hawaii News Now) (Image: Hawaii News Now)
WAIKIKI (HawaiiNewsNow) -

The aloha spirit saved Aloha Friday for an adaptive athlete, whose wheelchair was stolen from the beach in Waikiki then recovered thanks to some good Samaritans.

Honolulu resident Richard Julian says his faith in humanity was restored after the Waikiki beach community rallied to recover the wheelchair.

"It's our only means of getting around," he said. "If my wife wasn't here and the Beach Boys weren't here, I'd basically have to crawl to my car from the beach, which is impossible."

Julian is with Access Surf Hawaii, a non-profit organization that makes it possible for anyone with a disability to enjoy the water and ocean sports.

He was surfing at Queen's Beach on Friday morning in preparation for an upcoming competition at Duke's OceanFest when someone took off with his wheelchair.

"A couple of the Beach Boys saw the chair being taken off Waikiki Beach and they actually thought somebody was going to set it on the side for me, but what really happened was somebody walked off with the chair," he said.

The local surfer was out in the water with Bruno Hansen, who is visiting from Denmark.

"For guys like us in wheelchairs, it's our lifeline," Hansen said. "You're taking away our legs again."

Hansen and Julian are two of 60 adaptive surfers from seven countries who are in Waikiki this week for the 10th Annual Adaptive Surf Competition during Duke's OceanFest.

Hansen was shocked to learn the wheelchair was taken while they were in the water training.

"It got stolen off the beach much to the horror of the rest of us," Hansen said. "A lot of us are foreigners that have come out here with one wheelchair and if our chair gets taken we leave and I would never come back."

When they realized the wheelchair was stolen, several Waikiki Beach Boys sprang into action and organized a search.

Hours later, beach boy Uini Niuelua's son found the wheelchair abandoned in the middle of the road on Kuhio Street and returned it to Julian.

"It's a good thing that my son found the chair because these guys, they come every year to compete at this Duke Fest and they look forward to this," Niuelua said.

Julian says he's grateful to everyone who helped look for his wheelchair. He and his wife filed a report with police, but it's still unclear who took it or why.

For Julian, what matters most is that he has it back and now he can focus on getting ready for his first heat Tuesday.

Copyright 2016 Hawaii News Now.  All rights reserved.

Powered by Frankly