The parking lot at the Silver Lake Trader Joe’s is without its longtime guardian. Egee Mabolis, the attendant who has presided over the notoriously stressful parking lot for years, was in a bike accident on November 20 that broke his spine and left him temporarily paralyzed.
Within days of the accident, a GoFundMe campaign sprouted up to support Mabolis’ care and recovery. Donations started coming in as word of the accident spread on social media. In just six days, more than $17,000 has been raised by more than 450 people.
John Eder, who started the campaign, is a Trader Joe’s employee and a friend of Mabolis (who is employed by a security company, not the store).
“It’s very moving,” says Eder. “In his job he gets an amazing amount of shit from people in the parking lot, and he’s always just, like, water off a duck’s back and responds with kindness.”
In an update posted three days after the GoFundMe page went live and a third of the $25,000 goal had been raised, Eder wrote “if you look through the comments you can see that Egee really touched a lot of people’s lives in a positive way, just by small kindnesses.”
Mabolis has a certain kind of “that guy” fame. If you have ever parked at the Silver Lake Trader Joe’s, you’ve seen him in his signature safari hat—and you’ve probably experienced the small kindnesses Eder refers to, too. It’s safe to say that he has calmly and confidently directed thousands upon thousands of anxious Angelenos toward open parking spots in one of L.A.’s most feared lots. That kind of cool is not something that goes unnoticed in this city. About two years ago, the LA Weekly published a feature about Mabolis which revealed more of his story: He is from Dinagat Island in the Southern Philippines, which has fewer than 20 cars, an interesting twist given that he believes his purpose is to make the Silver Lake Trader Joe’s parking lot a better place.
Eder said he talked to Mabolis yesterday and is considering increasing the fundraising goal (currently set at $25,000) because the cost of treatment is likely to be high. Mabolis told Eder he does not have health insurance through his employer. The support from the community has been “very moving,” Eder said. The Silver Lake store has posted flyers about the fundraiser and a paper hat that appeared on the store desk filled up with dollar bills. Another business in the area has offered to organize a matched donation, too, and customers have offered connections for rehab facilities and emotional support. Eder has faith Mabolis will be back in action someday.
“A lot of crew members in the store are really sporty,” he says. “He’s always a sought-after guy to be on the basketball squad. He’s in good shape. Hopefully it will serve him well in his recovery.”