GOLD 905 jocks Vernetta Lopez and Mike Kasem recently partook in the radio station’s feel-good Make Someone’s Day campaign, alongside colleagues like Jamie Yeo. The video, which has since gone viral, saw the GOLD 905 crew footing the bills of strangers at a supermarket. (At press time, the vid has garnered 465K views on Facebook.) Their gesture even reduced an emotional dad to tears. The DJs will continue on a series of activities to brighten someone’s day as part of the campaign.
8 DAYS: You've paid strangers' grocery bills as part of the Make Someone's Day campaign. But what’s the kindest thing you’ve done for each other in the 15 years you've known each other?
MIKE KASEM: The kindest thing Vern has ever done for me was to get me in touch with the radio people here in Singapore. She essentially got me this job — she had heard my demo in the States and thought I’d be perfect for radio here. When I first moved here and didn’t have a place to stay, she let me live with her.
VERNETTA LOPEZ: Mike’s best buds with my hubby. So we let him stay with us for six months without paying rent.
MIKE: I did her dishes and cleaned up the kitchen.
VERNETTA: Mike has always been there for me and my husband in many ways. He’s always the first one to…
MIKE: … paint and build the roof of your restaurant [Roundhouse Pizza, Bar & Grill]?
VERNETTA: You were there painting and fixing up my restaurant?
MIKE: Yeah. I was sanding and staining all the wooden floors. I also got up on their restaurant bathroom’s roof and fixed it.
VERNETTA: Oh, right! He helped us with the construction of our restaurant big-time. He was doing construction work in L.A so he had all the tools and know-hows. He risked his life to fix our roof. (Gasps) We put a roof over his head, and he put a roof over ours too! (Both laugh)
What random acts of kindness have you done?
MIKE: Back in the States, there were a few times when I’d be behind someone at a grocery store counter, and they would come up a few dollars short, so I’d be like, “Don’t worry about it, I got it,” and paid for them.
Once, I was at a grocery store when I saw a 90-year-old-looking woman trying to push her grocery cart down the street to her condo. I ended up helping her push the cart all the way to her condo, which was a couple of blocks away! She was walking so slow (laughs)! The whole journey took an hour and a half.
VERNETTA: On my birthday, my husband wrote down the reasons why he loves me on paper. One of them was that, apparently, if someone is speaking in a seminar and they’re nervous, I’d always be the first to clap to give them encouragement.
When I’m out driving and it’s raining, I always pull over and give my umbrellas to people caught in the rain (laughs). My husband and I used to do private fund-raisers where we’d buy Christmas gifts for children in an orphanage in Malaysia. For a few years, every Christmas, it was this huge endeavour where people would gather in our house to wrap presents. We were like a gigantic Santa Claus contingent. I haven’t done that for a while, though. I got to get back to doing it.
Recently, I gave a ride to two teenagers. It’s a long road to get to my condo, and they were sitting by the kerb and looked very tired. So I offered them a ride. They got into the back seat. As I was driving them in, I said, “Now, I’m going to kill you.” (Laughs) I was joking. I thought it’d be funny. I said it with a smile on my face and in the rearview mirror, I saw both their eyes widening (laughs). Then I was like, “Sorry, I’m just joking. It’s okay. I live here.” They don’t know who I am and that I’m a joker. So the look of panic on their faces was quite funny (laughs)!
When was the last time a stranger made your day?
VERNETTA: On Sept 15 last year, I was having a very bad day and not feeling well. I was lining up for a bun at a shop. There was a guy in front of me and he said, “Is that all you’re having?” When I said, “Yeah,” he said, “Let me get that for you.” And he bought it for me. I just looked at him and was like, “Why are you doing this?!” It’s shocking when something like that actually happens to you. Even though it was just a bun, I felt an overwhelming feeling of warmth and gratitude that there was someone who would do that for me. I was so touched, I almost cried. I told him, “You’ve no idea how much I needed this today.”
Have you ever reacted with kindness to someone who was nasty to you?
MIKE: I really enjoy being super nice to keyboard warriors. Every once in a while, I’ll let anger take over and type a very slick, sarcastic comeback. But I’ve found that you never win that way ’cos it’s just going to fuel the fire. So I mostly just be nice, and say things like “You’re right” and “Yeah, I wish I could do better too.” When I first started in radio here, I got many comments asking me to go home. So I’d say things like, “I’m trying really hard to fit in” and “I’m doing the best that I can.” That makes people feel so bad — 90 per cent of them would reply and say something like, “Oh, no, you’re doing fine now.” (Laughs) People will put you down for no reason. When I used to co-host with Jean [Danker], people would say mean things about her looks even though she’s beautiful. So if you just reply with kindness, you’ll watch them backpedal and be like, why were they nice to me when I said that?
PHOTOS: KELVIN CHIA