In this fast-paced world we live in, we meet different people from different walks of life. They are colleagues, neighbors, and total strangers we pass by on the street.
Disappointingly, we do not build friendships with all the people we encounter due to clashing personalities and conflicting points of view. Moreover, as much as we do not want to admit, we have developed cynical judgments probably due to the paranoia toward the imminent hostilities in our society.
Being cynical may be the major reason that we shun possible friends. In an attempt to stay out of harm’s way and being hurt, we refrain from making contact with strangers. This means ignoring them at best we could. Such actions leave us the impression that the goodness of our society is slowly diminishing. But just when we thought everyone around us, including ourself, is evil, someone comes along to show us just how wrong we are.
It was Monday. I was waiting for a jeepney to ride home when it started drizzling. I grunted in frustration as I thought of my umbrella sitting snugly in one of my shelves at home. Who would’ve thought it would rain on a peaceful February afternoon? I watched, amused, as all the other people around fished out their umbrellas from their bags. Apparently, everyone saw this coming but me. I found myself running for cover under the shade of the footbridge as the drizzle turned to rain.
One lady, about my age, and who, judging from her uniform, obviously came from the same university as I did, approached and startled me with a question I least expected. “Ate, wala po kayong payong?”
I was taken aback. Sure it was a very simple question but it puzzled me that someone, especially a stranger, would even care to ask. I answered sheepishly. “Wala eh.” She gave me a warm smile and shared me her umbrella. I didn’t know of anything better but to say “thank you.” How come, in a world so cruel, a person kind enough to share her umbrella with a total stranger exists? Would you even expect the person beside you to show any concern if you catch pneumonia from being drenched in the heavy rain? We all know the answer.
I couldn’t pass this opportunity to be acquainted with my hero of the day. She said that her name is love and that she is a Psychology student. I introduced myself and thanked her for the nth time.
Whenever I meet people whose goodness radiates from the little things they do, I repay them with the gratitude and respect that they deserve. I might not know her and her whereabouts but that girl named Love earned my respect that day.
From afar, I saw the jeepney which bore the sign of my destination. I thanked her again and bade goodbye. I even heard her say, “sige po, ingat.”
“Ingat din,” was my cheerful response. Could that day be any more stupendous? I felt like I’ve just been touched by an angel.
I thought about it all the way home. I thought the world was cruel. I thought strangers were of two kinds: either people who would ignore you, or people who would have evil intentions. Muggers, pickpockets, rapists, killers, weirdos, and psychos- these are the strangers I expect to be all around me.
My opinions were overshadowed by my own cynicism. I didn’t realize that though the evil exists, the goodness thrives among us just the same.