Heard on the Hill: You Can’t Take It With You

Posted March 18, 2011 at 5:43pm

An unusual request popped up in many press secretaries’ inboxes last week.

Typically, the Democratic House press secretaries listserv is used to discuss policy matters or media requests, but Ashley Nagaoka, communications director for Rep. Colleen Hanabusa (D-Hawaii), used it for a different purpose last week.

“I am trying to hunt down a staffer who dropped off a bag of sand at our office,” she wrote.

The e-mail went on to give the dirt on the strange tale: It’s considered bad luck to take lava rocks or volcanic sand from Hawaii, she noted. And recently, a woman who said she was from North Carolina called the Hawaii Democrat’s office admitting to having taken a bag of sand from the Big Island in Hawaii.

“Since then, her family has experienced a lot of bad luck,” Nagaoka wrote. “She asked our office if we would take the sand back to Hawaii for her and my boss said yes.”

Because the sand thief lives so far away, she had a staffer friend of hers drop off the sand to the Congresswoman’s office.

But after the grainy stuff was delivered, Hanabusa’s staff wasn’t able to track down the woman from North Carolina. They are now trying instead to track down the staffer, whose name they also didn’t catch, in hopes of getting in touch with her. In the e-mail, Nagaoka describes the staffer as short, blond and in her mid-thirties.

“If this description sounds like anyone in your office — I would REALLY appreciate it if you asked her if she’s the sand lady,” she wrote.

It’s unknown whether Nagaoka succeeded in finding the staffer; she did not immediately return request for comment.