By Zach Solon | March 10, 2021 at 3:01 PM EST – Updated March 10 at 3:28 PM
WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) – Adrian Iapalucci, a Wilmington resident, donates his time and effort to making sure that waiting for the bus is easier for his neighbors.
“For so many people who don’t have resources for a vehicle, it gives them the freedom,” Iapalucci said. “So you see people that are going to doctor’s appointments or people who are handicapped or aren’t able to get around very easily but [the bus] really makes them available to be free.”
When Iapalucci looked out his window and saw some of his elderly neighbors standing at a Wave Transit bus stop without a place to sit, he found an old bench, fixed it up, and put it there for all to use.
He did not stop there. Once he shared his efforts with the community through Facebook, he found another bench to put at the stop across the street, just outside the the Robert R. Taylor senior homes. He plans to gather even more benches soon and put them at other seat-less stops around New Hanover county.
“This weekend, I’m going to be with a pickup truck and driving in a couple of different counties to pick up benches from people that I know and people that I’ve never met that have said ‘come get my bench,’” he said..
A representative from Wave Transit says they are not aware that Iapalucci had placed the benches in his neighborhood, but added they will likely be taken down because all passenger amenities must be approved and meet certain ADA requirements. The representative added that, in situations like this, they will work with those involved to have benches installed eventually.
“I can’t lose,” Iapalucci said. “Because, either the benches stay and people can use them, or they go away and somebody is going to have to do something to fix the problem.”
Iapalucci and his family are no strangers to helping the community. He says over the course of the pandemic, he and his wife have found ways to give back when they can.
“[My wife] spent the rest of the year making several thousand masks and giving them out,” he said. “So I guess I’m just getting old and feel like I need to do something to help people.”
In the end, Iapalucci just wants to help his neighbors feel comfortable in their community, whether it be by picking up trash off of the ground or giving them a place to rest while they wait for the bus.
“I think we often forget to lift up people,” Iapalucci says. “If people are doing well, there are people that are not or have other issues why they’re not doing well We have to bootstrap these people for success, happiness, and quality of life.”
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