Don’t talk to strangers, don’t trust anyone on the streets, Streets are filled with bad people, Take good care of your belongings, They might take advantage and blah blah blah. You might be familiar with those reminders that were told to you by someone who really cares about you; Parents, Siblings, Guardians, or your Spouse. I grew up with those reminders and it helped me to be aware and be protective on myself.
Some people might have installed these reminders into their belief system and that is why they don’t trust people all of a sudden. Here in Manila, Philippines, there is a place where you can shop almost everything at a cheaper price, vendors are at the sidewalks, bazaars in the streets, and lots of merchants inside the mall. That place is called Divisoria.
So I was there, shopping some school supplies for our foundation. Things like, notebooks, pencils, ballpen and pad paper were the necessary stuff to buy for the natives in Botolan, Zambales. The natives are called “Aetas” and most of them are in the poverty line, my parents believed by giving school supplies and helping the native people is an act of kindness. My parents told me that it is their way to share their blessings. Also, they are devoted to serving the church of Our Lady of Poon Bato, which they believed to be miraculous and that they are destined to serve since the Feast Day of that Mary was the same as my birthday.
But this article isn’t about the Foundation, or the Natives, or my parents, It is about my experience after shopping, I ride a pedicab since the stuff I bought was too heavy. The driver was this old man, around 50 years old. We’re kinda stuck in the traffic so to alleviate my boredom, I talked to him. He told me that he wakes up around 4:00 AM and goes home at around 10:00 PM. He was biking people from Divisoria to other places to earn money for his grandsons. He said that his son is in prison and the mother of his grandchildren died a year ago. So he needs to work every day so his little boys can continue attending school.
I was amazed, and that man earned my respect. After that, I went to Manila’s Flower Capital to buy some flowers for the church. Then I went to the bus terminal to ship the stuff I bought. Everything was settled so I went to the restroom before taking a bus to go home. I was about to leave the terminal when suddenly the guy from the shipping department ran after me, handling me the Plastic bag containing some stuff I bought for my brother. He told me that I left it at the chair in their office and he was looking for me to return it, He said I was lucky that I haven’t left the place.
At that moment, I realized that I had some misconceptions about strangers and the people in the streets. Who would have thought that a 50-year-old man still works for his grandsons? Who would have thought that a simple guy will return some stuff? Maybe I was judging them without actually knowing them. People in the streets or strangers might be bad but there might be good in them as well, if we could just open our eyes and try to understand who they are, we might learn something or their stories might inspire us. Everyone is an open book, I might learn from them, we might get disappointed, and we might enjoy their company, who knows?