An Ōtaki man who hitchhikes usually five days a week to visit his partner in a rest home says it hurts him if he doesn't see her.
Well dressed and holding out a sign, Mickey Carkeek catches a ride from Ōtaki to Levin and back, usually, five times a week, to visit the woman he calls "'Buttercups".
Mickey's story is capturing hearts around the world, TVNZ1's Seven Sharp reported. Buttercups has dementia, so couldn't be identified.
"I'm going to meet my Buttercups. She's waiting up there for me with bated breath," Mickey said, as the Seven Sharp crew gave him a ride.
"If I don't see her I don't function very well. It hurts me. I've got to see her because how she treated me. And I need to reciprocate the same way that she's treated me. I've got to show the same respect," he said.
At the rest home, playing music for Buttercups brings back the memories.
It's Kiwi drivers who help bind these pair.
"I call them my angels. I say 'thank you, you're just another angel that's picked me up. They're really, really good," Mickey said.