Bus stop ‘angel’ arrested

  • Photo by James “Kimo” Rosen

    El Aina with canine friend Ivanka Obama Da Dog at the Kuhio Highway bus stop fronting the Kapaa Neighborhood Center on a recent sunny afternoon.

  • Photo by James “Kimo” Rosen

    The bench is gone from the Kuhio Highway bus stop fronting Kapaa Neighborhood Center, as well as the homeless woman who has been living there for more than a year.

KAPAA — For more than a year, El Aina Danine lived at the bus stop fronting the Kapaa Neighborhood Center. She slept there. She ate there. She read there. She fed chickens there.

She said she had money. She had offers for different places to live. She said she has family on the Mainland.

But on Tuesday, the community fixture was gone.

It wasn’t just Danine that was missing from the Kapaa bus stop, either — the bench was also gone, following enforcement of the county Transportation Agency’s new rules regarding county bus stop use.

“On Tuesday, El Aina Danine was arrested for violating the Transportation Agency’s administrative rules regarding the use of the county bus stop. Danine was cited for not following the new rules,” said Kim Tamaoka, spokeswoman for the county.

She said the bench is being cleaned and refurbished and will be re-installed next week.

The rules Danine is accused of breaking include closure of bus stops from midnight to 4 a.m., and a ban on drug and alcohol consumption, as well as smoking cigarettes and electronic cigarettes at bus stops.

The rules also ban erecting any structure of fixture within or adjacent to a bus stop and occupying a bus stop in a manner that inhibits adequate public use.

Danine was arrested at about 4 a.m. Tuesday for overnight use of the bus stop and transported to Wilcox Medical Center for evaluation before detainment, which she refused, according to the county.

“She was then transported to police cellblock without incident, where she currently remains in lieu of $100 bail,” Tamaoka said.

James “Kimo” Rosen, Kapaa resident who visited her from time to time, says she’s an innocent soul who has been offered free housing many times by many people.

The Kauai Police Department and the Transportation Agency both tried to work with her in an attempt to find her a safe place to relocate, but she refused help — save for food and a kind word from passersby.

“She’s had a lot of outreach from the Christian and secular community, but she totally believes in the spiritual journey she’s on and that Jesus wants her to be there,” Rosen said.

Danine isn’t dangerous, he said, but she was causing health and public safety problems for people who frequented the bus stop because she took up the available space and never really left that spot.

Swollen legs and difficulty walking were reasons Danine rarely went anywhere, Rosen said, including to a restroom.

The 53-year-old woman came to Kauai from Fairfax County, Virginia, near Washington D.C., and previously told TGI she has a dream of starting a Christian church 144,000 members strong somewhere on the North Shore named “Holy Father, Holy Son and Holy Spirit Church.”

She arrived on Kauai and started living at Kealia Beach, where she says her possessions were gradually stolen until she was left with virtually nothing.

A quest for a safer place led her to the bus stop on Thanksgiving 2016, where she remained until Tuesday morning.

“I pray for everyone,” she told TGI in November, while she was still living at the bus stop. “Jesus Christ told me to don’t worry and to trust him and be still.”

At the beginning of the year, the Transportation Agency introduced updates to their bus stop rules.

During the discussion that led up to the February enactment of the new rules, Danine told The Garden Island that she would “inquire with the Holy Spirit, and maybe have a prayer” about the matter, but didn’t give any sign of moving from the bench.

Life at the bus stop wasn’t always peaceful for Danine. On Nov. 2, 2017 for example, she was arrested for lewdness after a tarp she was using to hide behind while cleaning herself blew away in the wind.

She was incarcerated for 48 hours and then released.

And all the while, many people questioned why she was allowed to remain living at the bus stop.

“It is a health issue for any person waiting at the Kapaa bus stop,” said letter writer Marga Goosen. “There is waste from numerous chickens as well as garbage, which the county then has to clean at the expense of the public.”

On social media, residents and visitors alike comment on the “woman in purple” or the “angel at the bus stop,” both advocating for her sweet personality and demanding the county do something to remove her.

“The lady in purple at the Kapaa bus needs to move out,” one post says. “At some stage, this is just unacceptable right?”

Another person posted: “Last night we passed, it was raining…someone waiting for the bus was out in the rain while El Aina took up the whole bench.”

The Transportation Agency waited a month after enacting the rules to remove Danine from the bus stop and offered to help find alternate housing until she was arrested.

Following her arraignment, she’ll either post the $100 bail or spend up to 10 days in jail paying off her debt to society for breaking the rules.

  1. Wally Roberts March 30, 2018 3:21 am Reply

    Innocent soul? Perhaps. Health hazard to folks who have to use the bus stop? Yes! Passively rude and inconsiderate? Yes!

    1. Rupert March 31, 2018 10:52 am Reply

      We are all children of god and will answer to our maker someday. Hawaii is aloha, and we should look for ways to help those less fortunate. Hopefully, the 10 days in jail will be helpful with medical services, and mental health evaluation. We have to care for our brothers and sisters while on earth.

      1. Trump2020 August 17, 2019 6:59 pm Reply

        Not everyone wants to be helped, Rupert.. She’s less fortunate by her own actions, not for a lack of local ‘aloha’. If she’s going to piss and shit in a public utility causing people to stand in the rain, she’s gotta go. Common sense.

  2. JK Smith March 30, 2018 10:36 am Reply

    How about going before a judge and requesting an order for her committed to a mental hospital?

  3. HighlyQuestionable March 30, 2018 10:42 am Reply

    If concerns me that when it’s feasible for the county to create laws to attack people when they conspire with one another. Why is the park at water filled with illegal squatters and nothing is done. There’s open drug deals in the area. In fact there’s a meth/heroin dealer that has been reported for months and yet KpD, the PA and their NDAU can’t arrest the dealer?

    It’s highly questionable when public officials target certain people and people of color and yet look the other way at those who commit serious crimes. It’s very concerning when murderer can get a plea deal of assault when they’ve murdered someone. It’s ludicrious that a person orders to trial can go to Las Vegas on his trial date, let alone greet away with tears of sexual assault.

    Kauai is broken and public officials are highly questionable.

    1. Chaz Bono August 17, 2019 7:04 pm Reply

      What island are you living on? Kauai residents are majority people of color, you think island minority whitey conspired to arrest one mentally ill black woman literally breaking the law? Do you hear yourself?

      1. Mat Lynn April 2, 2021 6:31 pm Reply

        HI… I know El Ania,

        Did you know her? Did you even stop and think can (I) do anything to help out. What is her story?

        And why do people get to have free will and belief faith and committment serve their duty for god and hold down anything for a tear on kauai for so many consecutive days.. tain shine.. storm hunger.. and what of the community center.. did they ask her WHY she stayed at such a location? Did they offer her a restroom daily .. weekly.. monthly… they who outreach and preach wellness and compassion. Aloha…?

  4. Reverend Malama Robinson March 30, 2018 11:23 am Reply

    Racism in black and white! A ailing person needs help not incarceration….
    This may be the worst thing KAUAI POLICE and government sheeple have ever done…. HORRIFIC!!!

    1. Smh August 17, 2019 7:05 pm Reply

      Please explain how arresting her is racist.

  5. Rupert March 30, 2018 11:28 am Reply

    Poor soul. One can’t help but to feel sorry for her. I hope she accepts the help being offered and hopefully a kind person will step up and care for her dog. Dog seems gentle and friendly as well.

  6. Kat March 30, 2018 2:14 pm Reply

    Sorry but can’t make a public bus stop your living room ! She needs mental and physical help . Send her to her family or mental facility so she can get help in Virginia.. her stuff got stolen because she would leave it unattended..

  7. Kat March 30, 2018 2:16 pm Reply

    Thieves are out there .. sadly .. cannot give them opportunities

  8. mauisurfer March 30, 2018 3:07 pm Reply

    she was arrested at 4 am because there were so many other people that were being squeezed out of the bus stop by her presence!

  9. Steve Martin March 30, 2018 7:44 pm Reply

    I think since the county now has to deal with her, the jail wasn’t the right decision. The only good part of it is she is not facing Mother Nature as she has been for over a year. 10days in jail won’t teach her any new tricks. It will be an expensive time for the tax payers. Better management would have given her a one way ticket back to D.C. Where family can pick her up and give her the help she needs.

  10. MK March 30, 2018 9:02 pm Reply

    The Garden Island newspaper needs to stop reporting about this lady. That bench was made and donated by Kamehameha Schools Kali’imamo students back in 2012. It was meant for the community. Not meant for housing. She ruined the bench.

    Please check out the origin of the wooden bench at


  11. Hector Tapia Perez March 31, 2018 1:52 am Reply

    Pray with and for her. Then watch your blessings. She always had a kind smile whenever I saw her.

    1. Ginger Ashworth January 8, 2021 7:03 pm Reply

      What’s happened to het?

  12. behappy March 31, 2018 10:39 am Reply

    As has been stated in this article, kind offers of help have been given to her by concerned individuals and organizations on the island. The only way to move her was to arrest her. She needs more help than kind hearted people can give. This is not a race or gender issue. Please don’t try to make it one. A thorough evaluation of her mental state is necessary to get to the bottom of her problem and issues to give her the proper help she needs. She does not realize that living on a bench is hazardous to not only her health but the health of others humans and the animals she feeds. What about the rodents and insects that are attracted to the debris that accumulates? Please let her get the type of help she needs. I think of her often and see her on the bench in the rain, storms, wind and night. My heart goes out to her and her troubled existence.

  13. Eddie Lopez March 31, 2018 10:16 pm Reply

    She wants’ to start a church with 144,000 people? Has anyone told her there are only about 65000 people on the island? Where was she supposed to get the other 80,000? Maybe teleport them in from Virginia? Folks, the lady is nuts! I say send her back to her relatives on the east coast.

  14. Na'aina Dakine July 2, 2018 3:57 pm Reply

    The children of Kamehameha schools made and donated that bench for the people of Kauai who ride the bus. How shameful Kauai County allowed the purple lady to defacate and urinate all over it. It is so very disgusting. Just nasty.

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