The restaurant where Katie Austin was a server burned in the wildfire that devastated Hawaii`s historic town of Lahaina this summer.
Two months later, as travelers began to trickle back to nearby beach resorts, she went to work at a different eatery. But she soon quit, worn down by constant questions from diners: Was she affected by the fire? Did she know anyone who died?
“You’re at work for eight hours and every 15 minutes you have a new stranger ask you about the most traumatic day of your life,” Austin said. “It was soul- sucking.”
Hawaii`s governor and mayor invited tourists back to the west side of Maui months after the Aug. 8