If you want to meet someone who epitomizes courage, grace and determination, look no further than a 13-year-old girl on Kauai. Her name is Arayza Sabay.
What did she do that’s so brave?
How about fighting back from critical injuries she suffered after she was struck by a vehicle while walking to the bus stop from her Hanamaulu home in January. Her recovery has been amazing. She has gone from being hospitalized with her life in the balance to physical therapy to playing at home again. To endure what she did and bounce back the way she did requires someone very special, someone very strong. Her bravery and resolve can’t be overstated.
Recently, Arayza Sabay went well above and beyond the call of what one might expect from someone her age. She led a walking tour of adults — many elected officials and those seeking office — from her home to the bus stop, recounting as best she could what she remembered from that day. Not only that, she answered questions, too, some difficult ones about that morning she was struck. It couldn’t have been easy for her to recall that morning, but she did it. It couldn’t have been easy for her to lead this group of adults, but she did. She hasn’t fully recovered yet, either. That will take longer. She still has vision impairment as a result of the injuries. Yet, that could not and did not stop her.
Certainly, she didn’t have to do this. Her parents certainly didn’t have to allow it. This group could have easily visited the area of Hoohana and Laukona streets on their own without Arayza leading them on the route she usually took to the bus stop each day. They could have obtained much of the same information about possible safety improvements in the area without having Arayza retrace her steps.
So why did Arayza agree to do this? Why did her father Raymondo walk by her side while leading the group?
The answer is quite simple.
Because it could save lives. It could keep others from being hurt. It could prevent future tragedies. That was their motivation. That’s it. It had nothing to do with publicity or money or sympathy. It just a desire and a heart to help others.
We thank Kauai Path and others who attended this meeting with the intention of making changes that will keep children safe as they walk to the bus stop in the morning and return home in the afternoon. They looked, listened and offered sound suggestions that could enhance the road design. The conversation was exactly what you would want. We hope that some suggestions, including striping, curbing, sidewalks and lowering the speed limit, are considered and approved by the council.
We also want to thank the Sabay family for allowing their daughter to lead the walking tour, and for opening their home to the discussion that followed.
And, finally, we praise Arayza Sabay for such a display of selflessness, of compassion and of strength. She put aside any fears she may have had, put aside her doubts not just about revisiting the scene of the accident, but was willing to answer questions about that morning.
Certainly hashing it over came with some pain. She could have refused. Such a traumatic experience is not easily forgotten or overcome. Most children her age in such a situation probably would have declined. She said OK. And she did it because it could keep other keiki safe. Wouldn’t it be nice if we all had her spirit?
So if you’re looking around for someone who has and will continue to make this world a better place, you have found her in Arayza Sabay.