‘An outstanding, genuine, loving person’
Camille and Rick Copeland have known Jefferson Ramel for 12 years, and say shopping and chatting with Ramel at the Princeville Foodland is the bright spot of the couple’s day.
“He is an amazing, kind, gentle soul,” they said of Ramel, who works in the supermarket’s deli.
For Ramel, the secret to his friendly demeanor while preparing sandwiches is that he looks at every customer like a relative.
“I treat everyone like a member of my family even though it might be the first time I’ve ever met them,” he said.
Born in the city of Batac in the Philippines, Ramel served people in a different way as an agricultural technologist for the government.
“I helped farmers and homemakers increase their production of crops,” said Ramel.
After 22 years working for the government, Ramel’s wife, Rebecca, came to Hawaii to work as a housekeeper at a Princeville hotel.
She petitioned for him to immigrate to the United States, specifically Hawaii. Ramel says he loves Kauai because everything is good and peaceful, “free from crime and bad things.”
The danger of criminal activity is something Ramel knows too much about after recently losing his youngest brother Robert, who was slain in the Philippines.
Now Ramel is making a brief return trip to his homeland to bury his brother, one of nine siblings.
Trevor Ryan, the Princeville Foodland store director, knows what a gem Ramel is.
“We get compliments on him all the time,” he said. “He is an outstanding, genuine, loving person.”
Ramel said he wakes up every morning happy about nearly everything in his life, especially about his wife, Rebecca.
“Every night I pray to God that we wake up and have more days to come,” he said, adding about his work: “I’m so happy to go to work again and meet many people and serve them.”
It’s not just talk. It’s not just a show, the proud grandfather assured.
“My smile is not fakey,” Ramel said. “It comes from my heart and I give it to other people to make them feel happy.”
This is an ongoing weekly feature in The Garden Island. It focuses on everyday people who reflect the spirit that makes Kauai the place it is today. If you know a person you would like to see featured in The Garden Island, who is lokomaikai, email Lisa Ann Capozzi at firstname.lastname@example.org.