RICHMOND, Calif. (KTVU) - While much of a firefighter's job is to be ready for action, nothing could have prepared Richmond firefighter Marcus Faumui for the surprise he received Friday.
Flanked by firefighters, Faumui's wife Alma Bruno showed up at work to let her husband in on a surprise. United Airlines has selected Faumui as the hardest working person in America. He beat out 30,000 other candidates. The prize: A free trip to Tahiti.
"Feels a little weird, unexpected. I don't know what to say right now," said Faumui.
Faumui's wife learned about the United contest on Facebook and wrote them about her husband without him knowing. “I'm absolutely proud of him. I think everyone needs to learn his story," said Bruno.
She wrote that he is so dedicated to his job that while fighting soft tissue cancer he still reported to work, even after undergoing chemotherapy treatments. He is now cancer free.
"I just come to work. Do my job. I love what I do. It's not hard for me," he said.
But fighting fires is only part of Faumui's life. He also organizes an annual holiday party for foster children, teaches firefighting at Los Medanos Community College, mentors young people and more.
"His birthday is coming up November 3rd. And he will be helping build a park. He always has things he's doing," said Bruno.
Faumui just shrugs it all off as nothing special.
"It is what we're here for. To protect the community. It just so happens we like it.," said Faumui.
The prize includes air fare, seven nights in three different resorts and $2,000 in spending money.
So what are Faumui and his wife planning to do in Tahiti?
"Can't talk about that." he laughed.