Friday, June 5, 2015

"Mango Man"

A poor, wayfaring Man of grief
Hath often crossed me on my way,
Who sued so humbly for relief
That I could never answer nay.
I had not pow'r to ask his name,
Whereto he went, or whence he came;
Yet there was something in his eye
That won my love; I knew not why.

(James Montgomery, "A Poor Wafaring Man of Grief" [1826])





Thanks to a friend, I stumbled across this story this week, the "Mango Man" of Hawaii.


Some say that "Mango Man" is a "scary figure", but others say that he's nothing more than a harmless itinerant. According to reports, "Mango Man" has been an itinerant resident of Kailua for more than 30 years.

Nevertheless, when the ubiquitous homeless figure recently disappeared, it got everyone wondering.


John Cruz aka "Mango Man" recovering following Good Samaritan's effort.


Some Kailua residents say they knew Cruz was suffering for a long time up until this point and refused to accept medical care. That was until last week when a group of concerned residents contacted community physician Dr. Chad Koyanagi. Koyanagi organized a homeless outreach team from the Waikiki Health Center and along with HPD, HFD and EMS and the group went to help Cruz.

Cruz was taken to a hospital for treatment. We're told he's still undergoing medical attention and will likely remain hospitalized for an extended period of time.

Residents of Kailua even created a Facebook page for "Mango Man", and some of the comments there are real gems.

John Cruz was a bright young track star at Castle High school. He graduated Class of 1967. He went on to join the military and fought in Vietnam...and he is now homeless. You may know John as Mango Man.

Mango Man is a monument to those of us who have grown up on the windward side. When I was a kid, I took the bus to school from Kaneohe where he used to hang out. I would get an extra musubi every morning and we would sit silently eating it. He hardly talked but as a young girl I somehow always felt safe having him there, even protected. On days he wasn't there I would get worried, and would drive around looking for him. To this day I keep track of him.

I'm not alone. I know many of you have your own Mango Man story. One of the things I love about this town is how we all take care of him.

With all the new people coming here, we need to make sure more than ever to watch out for him, and make sure people know he's not just some bum homeless man but a part of our Windward Ohana. I will post this every few months so new people will see it. And we can also keep track of him collectively.

Do you have a Mango Man story or photo to share?

There was no shortage of comments.


Cousin Vinnie Ward I don't know why he is called mango man so I feel kind of funny telling my story because it involves a mango .John was sitting on a bus bench and I was sitting just a little ways away from him waiting for the bus he took a mango out of his bag and I remember thinking to myself is this guy going to break out a knife and cut open this mango with these children so close by they might be afraid to see somebody like that with a knife but boy did he really surprised me he kneaed the mango like it was bread dough squeezed it over and over and over and over then he took his little finger and poked a hole in it and drank the mango through the hole it was the coolest thing I have ever seen and to this day I smash up my mangoes and eat them that way!

Cheryl Medeiros Does anyone know why he is called Mango Man? I myself think it is disrespectful and bullying! He has a name and is a Vietnam War Vet and should be treated with kindness and respect!

I Love Kailua! People call him John when they talk to him, most people aren't referring to him as Mango Man in person. It's nice you are concerned but it's not meant negatively. Early on people did not know who he was so the name caught on. It's a term of affection though. Bullying is in the intention. No one is making fun of him. As you can see he gets so much love and respect here.

Kealii Kila I just remember him always being around and seen him on my way to school after school on the way to the pool. He never was scary In fact he was always nice and he would wave and say hi when we would. My mom always told me not to disrespect or fear him cause he is just a man like all of us and he has is own story in life. I always new he was a veteran and respected him for that cause so was my oldest brothers and oldest sisters father who after he came back from Vietnam war sadly took his own life due to PTSD.

Chica Roberts I met John many times, and even helped serve him many years ago during a lengthy time of need a Castle Medical Center. He has a beautiful spirit and a warm smile, though not often seen. Whenever someone called him Mango Man I would correct them and say "his name is John"! A true child of God who embodies the admonition of Christ "if you have done this unto the least of these, you have done it unto me." -- Kevin Roberts (AKA, Chica....its a long story...)



Amee Enahh He is not homeless. He has a beautiful home. It's called Kailua. The people there take care of him. Teach our children to do the same.

1 comment:

  1. John Cruz is referred to as "Mango Man" because he is the owner of a Mango farm in the Philippines. The people who put him on the street in Kailua stole his Mango farm and owe John Cruz money. Aloha, Dianna

    ReplyDelete