It was exactly eight years ago when this happened. I can just recall it so vividly because I was touched.. really touched with his little act of kindness that made me believe in humanity.
December 2006 was one of the most memorable times of my life. It was the time when Dabby was born and we were all alone -- no help, no friends, no relatives were there to help us get through the time. The wait, the birth, the post-birth -- it was just us. And for first-time parents who are far from home, it was no easy feat.
Some of you may have experienced the same and would agree that it is really a hard thing to go through. Most especially when the stress of urban living can make who hard-shelled and untrusting. And here in Mactan, having distrust as a shield made it an ever handy thing to use.
We have that kind of distrust for traysikel drivers. And for those who don't know what a tricycle is here in the Philippines, it's like this one below: A three-wheeled vehicle with a motorcycle attached to a sidecar. Philippines version of a rickshaw.
Why the distrust? Because sometimes, they try to rip you off. They want you to pay for the whole ride (Php 35) when you can just pay for one-way trip (Php 7). And I had to be eternally cautious of these kinds of drivers. All the more when it's Christmas season where the traffic and the peak time makes people's tempers reach boiling point.
That time, I had just given birth to Dabby. And I was required by the Ob-Gyne to visit her for a post-partum checkup. It was not after six-eight weeks like others since it was a bit of a complicated childbirth so she had to see me a week after. So again, this was not an easy feat. I had to leave the husband to take care of baby Dabby and venture out on my own. My body ached a whole lot this time. And I only had one wish -- that the trip would be okay and not torturous.
And on that day, God gave me an angel for my trip to the clinic. I was given a very kind old manong driver to take me to the place. I was lucky to land a driver that did not ask me to pay more, that did not ask me to pay for the whole trip and that did not try to rip me off my meager fare.
I was the only person on that trip. It would have cost me Php 14-35 but I was only able to pay Php 7. But it was not the cheap fare that struck me most -- it was his service. He did not give a lame speech that I was the only passenger. He did not whine that it was only a Php 7 trip. He delivered me safely from Basak to Gunob even when his route is for the Opon market without asking for an extra fee. Best of all, he greeted me.
"Salamat. Merry Christmas," he said with a smile and he rode off after I handed him a few coins.
"Merry Christmas pud."
It was all I could mutter under my breath. It made me teary-eyed as I went inside the small clinic.