Hard Core Generosity By FINIS & The Swim GuyCourtesy of WOWSA Ocean Fest, Seaside Lagoon, Redondo Beach, California.
“This is the worse day of my life,” said Pak Him Lai of Bermuda Dunes, California.
Lai had just finished the 10 km race at the WOWSA Ocean Fest in 3 hours 59 minutes and 41 seconds, just 19 seconds under the automatic cut-off time of 4 hours in the inaugural Redondo Beach event.
Lai walked up the shore to collect his FINIS mesh bag where his car keys, wallet, clothes, and other personal belongings were located.
Nothing. He found nothing.
While he finished his first marathon swim under a bright blue sky and was initially happy, his day was about to get very cloudy.
Lai walked up and down the beach – and nothing was to be found. The race director Rick Crump, lifeguards and volunteers helped him look for this bag, but there was nothing left on the beach. His joy at finishing quickly – and rightly – turned to frustration and anger.
“I can’t believe it,” repeatedly said Lai.
He walked back to the awards ceremony at Seaside Lagoon with one of the volunteers. They stopped at a police station to report a stolen bag and wallet and keys. But there was no smile on his face when he arrived at the awards ceremony which had already wrapped up. Nearly everyone was gone and volunteers helped him search the lost and found. His head hung down in utter disappointment and frustration.
The poor guy had nothing – but his googles, swim cap and swim gear. The vendors had all but dismantled their booths and the parking lot was empty except for Lai’s car and the vehicles of the remaining volunteers and vendors.
But three event sponsors who learned about the Lai’s luck immediately offered to help – John Mix, CEO of Finis replaced everything in his goodie bag and provided additional FINIS gear in an effort to improve his outlook.
Then Craig Eisenberg of The Swim Guy – and Mia Andersen of Hard Core Sport outfitted Lai with board shorts and shirts. Free of charge and with a smile and wishes of good luck.
“Such great community!” said Steven Munatones. “ John Mix, Craig Eisenberg and Mia Andersen could have gone their own separate ways and returned home after a very long day under the warm sun. But they saw a fellow swimmer in a tough situation and did what they could to help.”
The police has located his iPhone in a distant city and event organizer Quinn Fitzgerald narrowed down the possibility that perhaps one of four swimmers in that distance city – about an hour away from the venue – had accidently picked up Lai’s belongings.
Calls were made while more generosity was bestowed on Lai who was waiting for a call back – that eventually came. The good news was that another race participant had accidentally picked up his bag – but was an hour away. Fellow swimmers Wendy and Rick Bogin offered to drive Lai to pick up his bag with his car keys, wallet and clothing.
It was a happy ending and just another day on the beach where swimmers help swimmers.
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