MYRTLE BEACH — Cynthia Ayala loved to smile.
More importantly to her, she loved to make others smile.
The bubbly 18-year-old from a close-knit family of five who called about everybody punkin always found time to use her knack for brightening the day of those who crossed her path, whether it be friend or stranger, young or old.
Cynthia was on her way to do that very thing Thursday, en route to her job at The Fun Warehouse in Surfside despite having the day off because she cherished being with friends at work and the children who visited. She never made it.
While sitting at a stoplight, Cynthias car was one of six struck by another that had veered off a side road, across two lanes of traffic and slammed into her. The enchanting personality that had endeared her to everyone since she moved to Surfside Beach just a year ago was gone, 17 days before her 19th birthday.
She was an amazing young lady, her mother, Eva Ayala, said. She saw the love me and my husband had for each other and our children. She just took that out with her and went her own way with it.
When she would see elderly people or children she would help them. She just had a kind heart.
The impact that heart had during her short time in the community was evident Friday as news of her death spread. Friends, as well as children who frequented The Fun Warehouse, composed messages on everything from paper to their own arms and hands before taking pictures and posting them on Cynthias Facebook page.
Cynthia had been the kind of role model that children could look up to, spurning the temptations of drugs, alcohol and cigarettes that lead to trouble for many people her age. Her mother said she never succumbed to peer pressure and always stood her ground, which sometimes led to ridicule by those who thought she was a goody two shoes.
True to her outlook on life, however, she never had a harsh word in return for her critics. Kameron Gailliard, who had known her for about five months and was dating her, said she would always manage to find a way to laugh it off.
She would never get mad in someones face like most people do, Kameron said. She had a disposition about her that was glowing there was no negativity about her aura at all.
Its almost unreal to have her called home like that. Its an understatement to the saying only the good die young, because everything about her was good.
Cynthia was a graduate of Colonia High School in her home state of New Jersey, where she played softball and ran cross country. She adored the beach and loved spending time there which her mother says was a big reason the family chose the Grand Strand and was about to begin her second year of the physical therapy assistant program at Horry Georgetown Technical College.
She was also passionate about her time with Kameron, who was her co-worker. Rather than parties or clubbing, the two had plans for a Waffle House date, a sit-on-the-porch date and a YouTube video date just to name a few.
Kameron spent part of Thursday night and time Friday at the familys home, helping them see the many condolences and tributes to Cynthia posted on Facebook to help them understand how loved she was.
It gives her parents peace of mind that she affected everyone in such a good way, he said. It helps put their mind at ease that their daughter touched so many people.
Im gonna miss her so much. She wasnt like every other teenager. She wanted to distance herself from the bad and thats what made me feel so attached to her. She was beautiful inside and out, thats all I can say.
Mike Roe, her manager at The Fun Warehouse, echoed those statements, saying Cynthia had an effect on everyone from the employee who started two weeks ago to Tim Marks, who owns the facility.
She did whats right whether someone liked it or not, Roe said. This has affected every single member of my staff. Were going to miss her so much.
She made just about everyones day better.
Likely the ability to do that came from a home where hugs and kisses were the norm. Where a marriage of 28 years fostered values in a young woman that she was eager to pass on to anyone who came in contact with her.
I know when she left us she left knowing she was loved, Eva said. Me and my husband are grieving, but also have a child at home to care for. We try to picture how she would want us to be ... and she would be more concerned over us than herself right now.
Eva need look no farther than her daughters favorite quote on Facebook to know that to be true. It reads: Life goes on and time passes. Look towards the future and leave your past behind.
Every parent says they have the perfect child, Eva said. I actually did.
Besides Eva, Cynthia is survived by her father, Louis Ayala; an older sister, Nicole Cherry and her husband Daryl; a younger sister, Alysa; her grandmother, Angela Garcia; and a niece, Elizabeth Cherry.
The family has no service planned at this time, but may have a memorial service at a later date.
Contact TODD GARVIN at 626-0307.