Everyone was busy celebrating Christmas Day on Dec. 25 but the lone clown on Saipan was busy preparing all his belongings to depart the islands.
Reynaldo Gabriel, more commonly known as “Hapi D’ Clown,” set off on a new journey last Sunday morning.
The entertainer has been on island for more than 23 years but he felt that it was time to move on.
“I’ve basically grown up here, this place is a second home to me. I even got the chance to see so many of the kids I entertained grow up but I just think I’ve learned all I can from Saipan,” said Gabriel. “I first moved to Saipan when I was really young. Thinking about things now, I didn’t really feel like I did much and that there’s so much more I could do.”
Gabriel, when not entertaining kids at parties, worked as a crewmember at McDonald’s Middle Road.
Joe Ayuyu Jr. manager of McDonald’s Middle Road, said, “It was an honor working with him [Hapi] and we all just wish him the best of luck.”
Gabriel recalled Anthony Pellegrino from Gino’s Pizza first hiring him as a clown, having his career take off from there. He is now aiming for a professional hosting gig.
“That really was my start as a clown. I love just making a kid’s day and being a clown really helped me do that,” Gabriel said. “I have no intention of giving up my career as a clown, but I want to see where hosting can take me for now. I would like to thank all my friends, family, and former employers for taking such good care of me over the years. I will miss you all,” Gabriel said.
Janet Mendaiyao, a resident, said, “That’s so bad that Hapi is leaving! Actually, it’s more of a bittersweet moment because we all want the best for him but the kids especially don’t want to see him go.”