Friday, March 04, 2011

paying the jeepney fare

it was yesterday. i was off from work but i have to do some errand for the wife. she asked me to deliver some documents needed by her friend. i have to leave early as her friend lives far from our place and also i don't want to be caught in the usual morning traffic. the jeepney i rode in was full. office workers, vendors, students. i know we all have the same thing in mind -- beat the early morning traffic. i know even the jeepney driver has the same thought. the more he will not be caught in traffic, the more trips he can make, and more earnings of course. i can sense everyone is in a good mood inside this vehicle. it is amazing how without ever willing it, we can know the general atmosphere inside a place we are in. some say it is intuition at work. the old Sages say, if one can develop this, intuition,  this can be a very practical tool. one can be guided towards making correct decisions, correct choices. always.

after some time, we are only about four passengers left inside the jeep. then this young man, i don't know if he's still a student or already an office worker, broke the silence inside the jeepney.

"here's my fare, sir." he said as he forked over to the man seated behind the driver his money. the man absentmindedly handed it over to the driver.

"don't you have a bigger bill than this?" the driver's voice is full of sarcasm. he is looking at the young man in the rear view mirror. he is waving a crisp 500-peso bill in his right hand. "young man, don't you know how much your fare is? IT'S JUST 8 PESOS! this is just my very first trip we're all having our first trip here and you expect me to break this bill for you? you should have handed it over earlier so i could have stopped at a gasoline station so we can break it.". the driver is shaking his head from side to side. the man behind him could not suppress a laugh. there goes this beautiful day for the driver, my mind told me. i looked at the young man. he is frantically searching his pockets and his wallet for coins or any other smaller bill but i believe it's just for show.

"i don't have any smaller bill." declared the young man. his tone of voice is not even apologetic. it's clear he is expecting the driver to hand him his change.

"here, take it back!" replied the driver, "and thank you." the driver's voice is seething with sarcasm. the man behind him took the 500-peso bill and handed it over to the young guy. the driver is shaking his head with unbelief.

when we reached the jeepney stop the young man hurriedly alighted from the vehicle. he did not even leave a word of thanks to the driver for the free ride. the driver could just throw a sharp stare in his direction.

 i could not help but think back about a few days ago. i berated my daughter for being irresponsible.

"dad," she declared, "i made a mistake."
"what?" i asked.
"our professor entrusted to me the copy of our quiz. she assigned me to get it photocopied for the whole class but i can't find it now. i think i lost it."
"oh my! how irresponsible can you be. how can you lose such an important thing?". i was so upset with her.
"don't worry, dad," she assured me, "i'll just go and ask the professor to give me a fresh copy."
"well," i replied, "she might be able to give you another but that's beside the point. my point is your taking responsibility. imagine, from about forty people in your class, you were the one chosen by your prof for that task. she gave you importance but you did not honor that recognition by losing that piece of paper! if you have been entrusted with something to do, don't ever procrastinate. accomplish it early so there will be no chance of you ever forgetting. now, when you tell her you lost it, what will she think of you?".

my daughter was quiet. i'm seeing tears forming at the corners of her eyes but i'm not letting her off easy on this though.

"be responsible," i continued, "i have been hammering this into your head time and again. you must always be aware of your actions. of what you are doing. of what you are supposed to do. if you cannot be responsible for small things nobody will ever trust you to take care of bigger things. please remember this always!"  i saw her tears fall.

later that day she texted me on my mobile phone. she told me not to worry. she apologized to her professor about losing the quiz paper. she told her what happened. the prof understood and gave her another copy. the whole class was able to take the quiz as scheduled.

being responsible. being aware of our actions. of our thoughts. we must always remember this. this will save a lot of conflicts and inconveniences. this will ensure that the quality of day will not be lost.

had that young man remembered to prepare an 8-peso fare then he would have saved a great day for that driver. who knows, it could be that because the driver had become so upset early that day he might have lost the motivation to do his job well. he might have lost the opportunity to earn more. and by not earning well, his family will have been affected. that young man might have taken his not being able to pay his 8-peso fare to the driver nor even his not giving him thanks for the free ride for granted but for this hardworking driver this could mean a lot! an otherwise great day for him got ruined!

love your neighbor as you love yourself.

think positive thoughts for our fellowmen. let us not hurt others by being irresponsible.
act lovingly. act responsibly. act divinely.

let us start with small, everyday tasks like paying a jeepney fare or safekeeping a quiz sheet.


Anonymous said...

You write books dear sito ?
I admire your facility has always keep the reader with your daily stories, it's still very good, bravo ! :))


sito saguid said...

i have not written any book, dear friend, but i would love to. for now, i am grateful for being able to share experiences with those like you who are able to find the time to visit this blog.