Tuesday, June 14, 2005


It was so dark that cold December night while going to Kabankalan that he almost did not see the middle-aged lady stranded on the side of the road. He could see that she needed help. So he pulled up his motor bike in front of her Mercedes and approached her. Even with the smile on his face, she was worried fearing that he was a member of the New People’s Army. They take helpless people as hostage and demand ransom money from the family. Sometimes they rape or kill their victims. He looked dangerous, poor and hungry. He could see that she was frightened standing out there in the cold. He knew how she felt and recognized the chill that only fear can produce.

“I’m here to help you, senora. Why don’t you wait in the car where it’s warm? By the way my name is Miling.”

All she had was a flat tire but he had to crawl under the car looking for a place to put the jack skinning his knuckles twice. Soon he was able to change the tires but he had to get dirty and his hands hurt. As he was tightening up the lug nuts, she rolled down the window and began to talk to him. She told him that she was from Dumaguete and was coming home after a day of shopping in Bacolod. She couldn’t thank him enough for coming to her aid. Miling just smiled as he closed the trunk of the car. She asked how much she owed him and any amount would have been all right with her. She already imagined all the awful things that could have happened had he stopped.

Miling never thought twice about being paid. This was not a job to him. This was helping someone in need and God knows there were many who had helped him in the past. He had lived his whole life that way and it never occurred to him to act any other way. He told her that if she really wanted to pay him back, the next time she saw someone who needed help she could give that person the assistance they needed and Miling added, “And think of me.” He waited until she started her car and drove off. It had been a cold and depressing day but he felt good as he headed home, disappearing into the twilight.

When she reached Bais the lady saw a small restaurant. She went in planning to eat arroz caldo and drink coffee to take the chill off before she returned to Dumaguete. Outside were two old gas pumps. The whole scene was unfamiliar to her. The waitress came over and brought a clean towel wipe her wet chair. She had a sweet smile, one that even being on her feet for the whole day could not erase. The lady noticed that she was eight months pregnant, but she never let the strain and aches changer her attitude. She wondered how someone who had so little could be so giving and nice to a stranger. Then she remembered Miling. After the lady finished her meal and the waitress went to get her change for her one hundred-peso bill, the lady slipped right out the door.

She was gone by the time the waitress came back. The waitress wondered where the lady could be. Then she noticed something written on the napkin under which were three P1, 000.00 bills. There were tears in her eyes when she read what the lady wrote: “You don’t owe me anything. I have been there too. Somebody once helped me out, the way I’m helping you. If you really want to pay me back, here is what you do: Do not let this chain of love end with you. PASS IT ON.” Well, there were tables to clear, sugar bowls to fill, and people to serve but the waitress made it though another day. That night when she got home from work and climbed into bed, she was thinking about the money and what the lady had written. How could the lady have known so much she and her husband needed it? With the baby due next month, it was going to be hard. She knew how worried her husband was, and as he lay sleeping next to her, she gave him a soft kiss and whispered soft and low. “Everything’s going to be alright. I love you Miling!” (ATM-B GIL "Babydoc" OCTAVIANO, Division D Best Table Topics Speaker, Bacolod Square & Compass TMC)


At Fri Sep 09, 05:53:00 AM 2005, Blogger vinodh said...

good thinking


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