Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Warm and Cold

I read this from a friend's blog and it made me smile. I felt that it needed to be shared, so here we go.

last Monday i was going down the long flight of stairs from the train station, right smack into the heart of the busy, congested highway that is EDSA. at the bottom of the stairs i noticed this one street vendor and one taho vendor having a hurried conversation. it went something like this:

Street Vendor:
[extending a plastic containing packed lunch to the other] kunin mo na o.. (you
can get this..)

Taho Vendor: hindi na, ayos lang.. (no, it's fine..)

Street Vendor: eto naman, sige na! (come on, take it!)

Taho Vendor: [fishes out a couple of coins from his pocket and shoves it into the hand of the other guy]

Street Vendor: sus, wag na! sayo na yan. (no need. just take it, it's yours.)

at that point they were already out of my sight. i dunno if the taho vendor paid for the food that was being given to him or not. but i found myself smiling after that. i'm not aware of the set of circumstances before that scene but it's very nice to know that amidst the poverty in our country some people still care enough to share what little blessings they have. it's strange, though, that i found this display of charity among people both from the lower classes of society while those who are much more blessed choose to turn a blind eye to the plights of the less fortunate.but thanks to those two guys, i think there's still hope for us after all.

Before reading this blog entry from Donna, I heard over the news that a tricycle driver returned an envelope containing P80,000 plus a check to a lady working in a music store. Ate Letty commented on that news segment

Ate Letty: Sana maraming taong ganyan. (I wish there were a lot of people like that)

Me: Marami naman eh. Marami nga lang rin na hinde. (There are a lot of people like that. But there are also a lot of people who aren't.)

Yeah, I know, that's not the nicest thing I could have said, but I was just stating the fact.

Much earlier in the day, Ivan and I were talking over pizza. I was complaining about how expensive the simple act of producing the bound copies of our theses was. He brought up that I had yet to collect (blank) amount of cash from this guy who I couldn't even find. "Yun pa lang, sobra-sobra na para sa thesis mo" (Just that [money] is more than enough for you thesis). I told Ivan that I had long let the money go and he was telling me that I shouldn't trust people so easily (to his credit, he did say that it wasn't really "good advice", but was more practical).

The truth is, I think most people aren't cold beacuse they're heartless; most people are cold because they feel as if there is a need to be. I have the luxury to be warm and giving because I have the extra cash or time or whatever that enables me to be so. For a lot of people that I know, Ivan included, they lived to learn that every centavo they have must be put to good use and accounted for to benefit the family. When that tricycle driver comes to a rough patch, someone might tell him, "Eh ikaw naman kasi, bakit sinauli mo pa yung pera. Ngayong kailangan mo, sino'ng tutulong sayo?" (Why did you return the money? Now that you need it, who will help you?).

So what should we have done?

1 comment:

Vince Ragay said...

You reminded me of what happened the other day. On my way to Pisay, I requested this taxi driver to drop me by the Post Office and to wait for me while I got a parcel. Along the way, we talked about honest drivers and I asked him, rhetorically and quite uncannily, "What will you do if someone left P100,000 in your cab?"

He seemed like a humble guy who carried on a great conversation that I became gradually animated by his street-smart responses. And although he didn't answer the question right away, he eventually told me that it did happen to him just the past week.

Apparently, this balikbayan Pinoy left a bag that contained exactly P100,000 plus a laptop and some new shoes and new pants. He actually didn't know the contents until he returned the bag (which remained locked and unopened for two day in his house) when the passenger traced his plate number through the taxi operator. Although he knew the area where he had taken the guy, it was in a place in Makati where he drove through a labyrinth of many dark, narrow streets that he even got lost on his way out.

The thought of opening the bag (aided by the prodding of envious friends) had tempted him and he said it would have been so easy to deny that he ever had the bag for another passenger could have taken it without his knowledge. (In fact, it was a passenger who had told him of the bag.) But he said that he could not live with his conscience if he had taken the money.

Well, he got the burning issue off his chest when he returned the bag. And when the not-so-grateful owner offered $5 (yes, 5 measly dollars) as reward money, he told his boss, "You can have it." He admitted that P5,000 would have been commensurate to his efforts of keeping the bag and returning it. I agreed.

Was he honest? Yes. Twice over: in giving the bag back and in admitting his own weaknesses. And he was totally right to be mad at the unsmiling owner whose gratitude did not match his good fortune in life and his retrieval of part of it. Not that he was obligated to give the driver a centavo. But the question is: What should the bag owner have done? Why, the lady who finally found her golden ring after sweeping the entire house threw up a party for the whole neighborhood! And she was the one who found it. Gratitude is a virtue; but to celebrate life is a gift of joy and wisdom.