How Long Will the Good Vibes Last at Qualcomm Stadium?

Evacuees find festive scene, including massages, yoga and gourmet buffet tables.

Oct. 24, 2007 — -- Half a million Southern Californians have evacuated their homes in the face of vicious wildfires, and thousands of them have found refuge at San Diego's Qualcomm Stadium.

But unlike the grim conditions faced by Hurricane Katrina evacuees at the Superdome in New Orleans, the evacuees in San Diego are whiling away the hours California style — with yoga, acupuncture, massages and even gourmet buffet tables.

Four generations of 66-year-old Beverly Brinley's family are waiting out the fires in the stadium. She's been playing with her granddaughter to make the time go by faster.

On day two, most of the infants and toddlers at the stadium are still easily amused, especially with volunteers such as Jane Deroche wandering around to brighten up their day.

"I am just walking around passing out bears to little children," Deroche said.

California Angels

Clowns were even called in for the kids' entertainment and several displaced guitarists were strumming and singing to a captive audience.

Christie Williams, who lost her Ramona, Calif., home, nicknamed the Shangri-La, said she was struck by the camaraderie and generosity she found at Qualcomm.

Williams said an older man named Gabriel started talking to her, and when she told him she lost everything, he reached into his pocket and pulled out a $100 bill to give to her.

Williams was overcome by the gesture.

"I've never been good at asking for help," she said today on "Good Morning America." "Gabriel, my angel! He's one of the many angels here in San Diego today. … This is like the first $100 to a new beginning."

Some are wondering how long the good vibes will last.

Esther Frances, 90, evacuated her home and said she could stay in the stadium as long as she needed to be.

"It is a matter of being flexible," Frances said. "Anybody uptight is going to have a problem with it."

Small Acts of Kindness

While aid is flowing in from across the country, many Californians say they are most grateful for the small acts of kindness they've received from strangers.

The Restifo family lost everything in the fires except a small basket of papers and pictures.

Annie Restifo told "Good Morning America" about a stranger behind them in line at Wal-Mart who later showed up with a suitcase full of clothing for the family's 16-year-old daughter.

That stranger turned out to be Jeri Yamanaka. She visited the Restifos again and did not come empty handed.

She and her teenage daughter, Lani, arrived at the Restifos' hotel with arms full of clothing, blankets and even toys for the children.

Though she didn't know the family, Yamanaka says need is something everyone can relate to. "I have more than I need and they don't have anything right now," Yamanaka said.

Annie Restifo says such kindness is a comfort that's helping them prepare to start over from scratch.

"My heart just aches with joy for someone to come and help us," she said "We don't have a blanket — even a pillow right now is a luxury."