Today, I was approached by an old man.
He is a barker. In the Philippines, “barkers” are known to call out to passengers who would want to ride jeepneys. They also make sure that the passenger sit close together to fit in as many passengers as possible. In return, the jeepney drivers give them a tip for their service. Tips can vary from 2 pesos to 10 pesos depending on the number of passengers the barker was able to get.
Two weeks ago, Manong, as what we call old men here in the Philippines, asked me if it is okay for him to sleep outside our office. I told him yes but never asked him why. He jokingly told me that now I have another guard to look after our place.
One cold, windy night, I went outside and saw him arranging his bed made of cardboard boxes. I asked the guard what happened to Manong and why he no longer has a home. He said that Manong and his son-in-law got into a fight and he was asked to leave his house. He did and while he was still looking for a new place to rent, he decided to just stay outside our office. I bought him a blanket. No one should sleep in that kind of cold without a blanket.
I told Anya this story. I told her that parents, however hard-headed they can be, should still be respected by their kids. And if the kids are older, they should understand parents more especially if they begin to act irrationally. I told her about how much Mama loved our Lola all throughout her life and how the kids should always love their parents the same way.
Today, I saw Manong again. He looked rested and he had a smile on his face. He told me that last night, there was a little girl who ran after him and gave him twenty pesos. He said that all his life, no kid that young ever gave him money. He said he told that story to every one he knows.
You know what? That kid is Anya.
I asked her why she did that. She said “She just feels like it.”
My heart is full of pride today.
If my baby’s “I just feel like it.” means being kind, I think me and Mama are doing a good.