Every sunny morning Mickey Carkeek can be seen walking along the main street of Ōtaki with two cardboard signs.

One helps him hitchhike from Ōtaki to Levin, with the second used to get back home to Ōtaki.

The reason for Mickey's trips to Levin are to visit his true love, his "Buttercup".

His Buttercup, Colleen Kauri has Alzheimer's and for the last few years has been living at Te Whānau Care Home in Levin.


Separated by the distance and without a car Mickey began hitchhiking to Levin two years ago.

Every day the weather allows it he makes the trip, sometimes up to five times a week and spends around four hours with her before heading back out to the main road in Levin to hitch back to Ōtaki.

"His actions are remarkable. I thought this kind of love was just in movies," said Akeez Rangiuia, who gave him a lift last week.

"We were driving past him, then I spotted him and asked my friend to stop and pick him up.

"It brought tears to our eyes because we were so touched that he does all this to see her.
"We don't really see this kind of love."

Mickey told Akeez and her friend about visiting his Buttercup and the story gets even sweeter when he shares why he hitchhikes.

While having no car may have been the initial reason for hitchhiking, Mickey enjoys the social aspect of hitchhiking.

"He said he enjoyed hitchhiking and meeting new people, having done it for over two years.


"He also told us all about his children and grandchildren."

Akeez shared a post on Facebook encouraging the Ōtaki and Levin community to stop and give Mickey a ride,

"If you see him please pick him up," he said.

"This is true love and the stories he can tell you during the ride make the trip even better."

Many Facebook users commented saying they too had enjoyed his company after picking him up with people pointing out that if he caught the bus no one would talk to him.

It's a story of true love and old fashioned community spirit.