Will stop for chickens — and more

We all hear about what’s wrong with this world. We hear that people don’t care anymore.

But every now and then, you get a chance to see what’s right. You see something that in reality is just a small gesture, has virtually no impact on that day, something that won’t matter tomorrow or the day after. But just the same, there are moments where someone does something that lifts your spirits and leaves you with a smile.

Allow me to explain.

Wednesday afternoon, I went for a short walk to Bloomingtails Resale Store, across the street about a block from The Garden Island office on Kuhio Highway in Lihue.

As I reached the other side fronting 7-Eleven, I heard horns honking and a line of cars going nowhere in the far right, southbound lane, and wondered what the trouble was. I looked back across the street and saw a car stopped, and other vehicles with impatient drivers behind.

At first, I couldn’t see why the driver was stopped. Then I looked again and there, a few feet in front of his car, perhaps two feet from the driveway to the gas station, was a hen and several tiny chicks, pecking at what looked to be a piece of bread.

The driver of the stopped car, refusing to pass for fear he would squish a chick, debated what to do because the chicks weren’t moving away. So, he pulled his car into the gas station to the right and circled around that way.

Problem not solved.

The next driver also stopped briefly, but squeezed past on the left when there was an opening.

The next driver stopped, but couldn’t pass on the left because there was traffic flowing there again. People behind were honking their horns, but the driver refused to budge. More horns were blaring.

Finally, sensing he had no choice but to go, he honked the horn of his car and slowly inched forward. The chickens held their ground. He honked again, inched ahead again. This time, the chickens retreated enough for him to sneak past.

All is well. Not.

They quickly returned, pecking at the bread.

Next came a large, black SUV in the right lane, the driver not caring about some darn chickens, roared by them but, amazingly, didn’t hit any.

At this point, I decided I had to do something other than watch. I weaved my way across the street. The chickens had backed off to the safety of the gas station lot. A few cars stopped for me as I ran up, kicked the smashed food as best I could off the street and to the sidewalk.

By now, the hen and her chicks were headed the other direction, away from danger. They would live, at least for one other day.

A couple thoughts on all this.

Yes, the drivers who stopped for a family of chickens on a busy road, to most people, were silly and stupid, typical bleeding hearts from the mainland who don’t understand island life. There are hundreds of thousands of chickens on Kauai. No one is going to miss a few killed on Kuhio Highway on a Wednesday afternoon. Hardly anyone even notices when you do run them over. Hundreds are probably killed in just that way on this island every day. It can’t be helped.

But a few drivers saw things differently.

They saw some little chicks in front of their cars and didn’t want to hurt them. By stopping, they were saying even the seemingly pointless lives of some chickens mattered to them. They were saying they cared.

When I saw them stopping to save a chicken, I shook my head, smiled and joined them.


Bill Buley is editor-in-chief of The Garden Island. He can be reached at bbuley@thegardenisland.com.

  1. gordon oswald April 12, 2019 7:22 am Reply

    So what’s the reality. Are chickens on Kauai – chickens, or rats with feathers that insist on waking everyone up at 3 in the morning?

  2. Charlie Chimknee April 12, 2019 7:45 am Reply

    Bill, ya shudder laid down in the sidewalk and sacrificed yourself to those heartless chickens…they’re CANNIBALS…the bread was the bait to lure you in to be run over by a car…then they could have dined on you as roadkill later with a 100 more of their LIHUE Tribe.

    My friend growing up always reminded me that Chickens are smarter than Cats…maybe humans too…!…Bill.

    My friend moved to Thailand.

  3. Charlie Chimknee April 12, 2019 7:51 am Reply

    Wait wait wait, Bill, I missed the last part…”you joined them”…? Was it whole wheat or rye…?


  4. curious dog April 12, 2019 1:24 pm Reply

    Thanks for the story, Bill. Our experience in a parking lot is worth sharing: a very young girl walking w/her family was yelling to drivers as they were approaching a chicken family..”run ’em over, run ’em over” as if it were a little song from her favorite cartoon. Her parents must’ve been so proud.
    How can you teach someone to care about the aina if they don’t care about the creatures who live on it?

  5. Wailua auntie April 12, 2019 9:58 pm Reply

    The callousness and anger often shown toward chickens on this island, by both children and adults, often amazes me.
    And I always appreciate seeing signs of consideration towards them.
    Thank you for offering your story, Bill.
    The wonderful birdlife on Kauai are truly a treasure, and I feel that Kauai’s birds, including all the chickens,
    are one of the most attractive things about this island, and about living here. Thanks again, Bill.

  6. BruceAllert April 14, 2019 4:16 am Reply

    Curious Dog said it in a nut shell…
    “How can you teach someone to care about the aina if they don’t care about the creatures that live on it?

  7. boxers or briefs April 14, 2019 10:42 pm Reply

    what about the rats

  8. Wailua auntie April 16, 2019 5:40 pm Reply

    Hi bowers or briefs. For what its worth, I have had opportunity to closely observe young rats in the wild here, and they are very playful, physically affectionate and relational with their siblings, much like small human children can be when well behaved. Even the much disrespected wild pig youngsters are amazingly similar to our much beloved dogs (but they are more itchy), very smart and very lovable.

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