Former Aloha Airlines Employee Juggles Financial, Medical Crises

Rod Nakabayashi
Rod Nakabayashi
Mercy Nakabayashi
Mercy Nakabayashi

EWA BEACH (KHNL) -- A double whammy.

A long-time Aloha Airlines flight attendant now finds himself juggling financial and medical crises.

Rod Nakabayashi's work uniforms hang on a closet door. After 21 years as a proud Aloha Airlines flight attendant, he suddenly has no use for them.

"I just felt really lonely," Nakabayashi said about losing his job. "And the part that hit me was not seeing my friends again at work."

For him, losing what he calls his dream job was the second bombshell in less than a year. The carrier's abrupt shutdown one week ago came on the heels of a devastating medical diagnosis. Doctors told him he needs new organs.

"I'm trying to get on the list for a pancreas and kidney," he said. "So it's kind of hard. You know, I kind of need two organs to be healthy."

Job, gone. Health coverage, gone.

The 49-year-old anxiously awaits word on whether his wife's insurance is willing to pick him up.

"I've just been trying my best to figure out what we can do and take it from there," Mercy Nakabayashi, wife, said.

Now unable to make mortgage payments, the Nakabayashis say they can no longer live in their Ewa Beach home. They'll stay with Mercy's family, until they can get back on their feet.

"We're trying to support each other during this tough time, and that we can I guess overcome everything," Mercy Nakabayashi said.

Rod looks back on his more than two decades with the airline, and knows he also must repair a broken heart.

"I never worked in a place like Aloha Airlines, which was so caring," he said. "So I really loved that place."

Doctors told Nakabayashi last year that his kidneys were functioning at just 10%. He says he undergoes dialysis three times a week, four hours each sitting.