A Māori electrician is sparking up dollops of aroha for the elderly in Te Kuiti by offering to change their light bulbs for free. 36-year-old James Marshall from Ngāti Koroki decided not to charge a 95-year-old woman after changing all of her light bulbs. When he arrived at the house to take the invoice back her legs were so sore the invoice was still in the letterbox.
“I told her why I was there that we had decided not to be charging elderly for changing light bulbs anymore so we sat down and had a talk about it she said no I can afford to pay and I want to pay but there is definitely a lot of elderly around here that can not afford to pay that cannot do it themselves so those are the people you should be targeting,” he says.
James Marshall, owner of Marshall Electrical in Te Kuiti went home and spoke to his wife Lisa about it and they both decided to make a pledge and help the elderly.
“My wife put the pledge up on Facebook two nights ago and it took off from there. Emails have been coming from around the country. A lady from Rangiora said she wishes I was down there so I could help her,” he says.
For most people changing a light bulb isn’t a difficult task but James says from experience not all ceilings are the same height and that can be a real obstacle for the elderly.
“Some are 2.7 metres sometimes they’re 3 metres and sometimes they’re 3.3 metres so you need an actual ladder to get up there. Even for an elderly person to get up on an ordinary step ladder, they might have shoulder problems and it’s a simple thing I can do and it means a lot more to them,” he says.
James and Lisa Marshall have both made an appeal on their Facebook page to the general public to check in on the elderly and help them. Since the post was published Mr Marshall says the company Smartvent has donated a ventilation system for him to install for an elderly person's home who needs it and he has also received 100 LED lights from another company. James Marshall says at this stage the free offer will only apply after work and at the weekends.