Man repurposes benches for elderly neighbors to use at bus stops
WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — A Wilmington man is going out of his way to be a good neighbor, collecting and repurposing benches, and setting them out at bus stops.
Adrian Iapalucci has lived in his neighborhood for two years. Every morning, he would watch as elderly neighbors stood out by the bus stop for what seemed like ages, waiting.
“I’d get up to go to work in the morning, and I would drive out of here and I would see–you know–people standing there,” said Iapalucci. “And it just didn’t make sense to me that they didn’t have a place to sit. So I said, let’s start putting benches out.”
Scouring Facebook Marketplace, Iapalucci found a 30 dollar bench, and got to work cleaning, tightening, and painting before setting it out for the neighbors.
A week and one Facebook post later, he’s picking up his sixth bench, and has gotten dozens of requests from other community members.
“Ok, they’ve got the Pines. It’s called the Pines Nursing Home,” said one neighbor, who had tried to reach Iapalucci the day before.
“Ok, and they have a bus stop there?” Iapalucci asked.
“Yeah we need, yeah because I go out there every day. My mama’s 89 years old and has to stand in the sun.”
After promising to set a bench out for his neighbor and her elderly mother, Iapalucci continued.
“I’m not trying to fix the whole problem,” he said, “I’m just trying to just do a little part in my neighborhood to help. You know, I would like, hopefully the city, it brings some attention to the issue because I think it’s just something people don’t sit around. You know, when you’re driving in your car, you don’t even really notice the bus stops.”
Even so, Iapalucci drove hours to pick up and refurbish three benches Sunday.
Though it makes him happy to see men and women use his benches across the street, the need he’s seen throughout Wilmington is overwhelming.
“If you can’t interact with people that are different than you, or outside of your social class, or whatever, you never realize their problems. And you don’t have any empathy… I mean, how do you have empathy for people you don’t know anything about.”
And until someone else gets the wheels turning on bus stop benches, Iapalucci will be a neighbor to all, one bench at a time.