A man of maintenance

LIHUE – For 30 years Wayne Medeiros has worked seven days a week keeping the Kukui Grove Shopping mall spic-and-span clean.

Talk about dedication.

“I love my job,” Medeiros said about being the maintenance manager at the largest shopping center on Kauai. “My wife used to say, ‘Pack your bags and stay at the mall. You spend way too much time there.’”

Reflecting on his job, Medeiros admitted he’s probably a workaholic. But pretty soon — two years give or take — the longtime custodial master will hang up the mop and broom.

“I love Kukui Grove. I’ve gotten to know the tenants and I’ve met a lot of customers, a lot of wonderful people. That’s why I love the place. I’m so happy.” the 64-year-old said.

And there is yet one other reason he loves the mall.

“I met my wife here,” Medeiros said. “She was driving the shuttle bus bringing tourists to the mall.”

He did what he knew best at the time – helped clean the bus.

“I was real shy at the time,” Medeiros said. “One day I got sick and she brought chicken sabao to me.”

It made him feel better, but not as good as it felt to see her, he said.

“I’d been all alone for 20 years,” Medeiros said. “After I felt better, we got together.”

Working every day all those years wasn’t always by choice, mind you.

“I didn’t have enough workers,” Medeiros recalled.

He said he and his wife have raised 14 grandchildren. One 11 year old, two 12 year olds and two 15 year olds still live at home and he wants to be sure they are well-taken care of until after they graduate from high school.

And while he worked everyday of the week for decades, now he takes weekends off for family outings. They are his pride and joy.

“I love to take my kids to the park and watch them play ball,” Medeiros said. “I also help them with their rooms and clean-up. Now I know how important family is.”

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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 of somebody you’d like to see featured, email features and education reporter Lisa Ann Capozzi at lcapozzi@thegardenisland.com.

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