In the vast ocean of negative publicity about humanity, a story of random kindness is like a precious jewel found in the bottom of the ocean. In my case last May 22 Thursday, I was able to discover not just one jewel of kindness but so much more. I believe that the kindness that was shared to me by these people deserve to be known. Like one of my former professor in law school once said, a kind word can go a long way.
I am but an ordinary person, a commuter in any way you can imagine, and yes though I have experience losing things but to have an actual encounter with a snatcher is perhaps one of the most traumatic experiences. Last May 22 my wallet was taken from me on the middle of the road at five in the afternoon. Many people witnessed but perhaps due to fear nobody can really come to aid. The snatcher upon wrapping his right arm on my neck by his left hand grabbed my wallet stared at me then cursed and cursed saying that he will kill me should I come close to him. Despite the many advise I have heard not to plead to the snatcher I begged if I could at least get some of the things there with sentimental value, but of course he just continued to curse and provoked that he will get a weapon from his pocket and will kill me. While he was running I tried to follow his direction and yelled snatcher snatcher!!! Normally there were police in their motorcycle along that area but on that particular instance, there was none. When he was already on the road several buses passed by and I lost track of him. So off he went with my wallet (mind you I really don’t have that much cash at the time), my atm cards and plenty of memories. But the experience of someone attacking you can be very very traumatic.
Shocked I walked straight ahead and went to the nearest fast food chain to sit down and to calm myself. Feeling dismayed and broken-hearted I thought in time of crisis you really are alone after all. Many people saw the incident but nobody was able to help me.
However, even if nobody was able to help me at that precise moment, one of the witnesses followed me. While sitting in the outdoor seats of the fast food chain one good Samaritan came over to offer help. He said he saw my snatcher somewhere outside Alabang Town Center, he changed clothes and was accompanied by a lady. He offered that we follow his trail and report him to the police. But it was already hard for me to recognize the culprit because he already changed outfit. The good Samaritan instead offered to take me to the Police station of Muntinlupa to report the incident. I asked if he can accompany me to describe the snatcher but I can feel the he does not want to be too involved not wanting to take much of his time I thanked him for his assistance. It was my first time to go to a police station.
With all the negative associations we have with our police officers, I was hesitant at the beginning I was afraid. Contrary however to the negative things I hear about the police they were actually very responsive. They even offered me to drink a glass of water; I was in a state of panic bursting in tears. They immediately accompanied me to go around the area that perhaps we can still see the culprit; we searched and searched but to no avail. Thereafter after making the report, I was escorted back to a church in Alabang Hills where I left my other things because I was supposed to attend a service that afternoon. Instead, I just offered prayer, thanked the Lord I was not harmed, prayed for the person who stole my wallet and thanked for friends who came to my aid and lend me money for the meantime.
I told myself, you always learn your lesson after, and this experience taught me to be more alert of my surroundings, of my belongings, and most importantly of myself. Even if there are many people around and it is only late afternoon. I slept late thinking and worrying about my atm cards and other memorabilia I have in my wallet. The experience somewhat punched my heart. I was a firm believer in the goodness of humankind; but at that very moment when the incident happened and nobody came to help, I thought in times of danger you really will be by yourself. Not that I was looking for a “hero” to my rescue but among the many people present during the incident nobody helped. I thought, perhaps it is a standard norm to expect for people now to practice self- preservation and be practical, but just the idea that in times of immediate need nobody will help you even in a public place kind of broke my faith in humanity. The following day I woke up and said it is a new day. Time to move on and forget everything, then just when I was about to forget everything my faith in humanity was restored.
At about seven in the morning I got a text message from saying, “Good am po, ito po yung asawa ng bus na sinakyan ninyo. May mga atm yung wallet mo pero walang pera…”then they gave their address so I can get it from their house… I paused and said is this a miracle. Yesterday my wallet was stolen from me and then the day after someone found it and wants to return it. I cannot be more grateful. After confirming my identity by enumerating the contents of the wallet they have at hand I set an appointment with the lady who texted me if I can go to their residence to get my wallet. I discovered that after stealing my wallet from me my snatcher rode a bus and after getting the cash in my wallet left my wallet in the bus. After the scheduled trip of the bus for that day, the bus conductor inspected the seats and there found my wallet. He surrendered it to the bus driver who upon going home instructed his wife to contact me the following day to return my wallet. Rare are the people who will go out of their way to return something they have found, I cannot be more thankful that my snatcher rode that particular bus. The honesty of the conductor and the bus driver cannot be discounted. If it were another bus, I doubt if they will find time to look for the owner of the pink wallet.
Not wanting to go alone in retrieving my wallet, I asked for the assistance of the police who recorded the incident the day before and at about 11am in the morning he personally accompanied me to retrieve the wallet. Upon arriving at the house of the family who found my wallet, I received such a warm, warm welcome. I can feel how worried they were of the owner of the wallet. I felt that I instantly earned a friend. I lose some but with great gain. This may seem like an ordinary experience for some, but to me it was such a revelation, an affirmation about the innate goodness of human kind.
I also have a new way of looking at our police officers; contrary to the immense negative publicity about them I realized that a good number our police are dedicated to their job. They are just unsung heroes. Having my story published is just my small way telling the world that there is still hope in humanity. Kindness, honesty, friendliness do exist. My story is a testament of the Filipino concept of ‘malasakitan’ even to those they do not know personally but needs help.
In line with this, I want to extend my gratitude (words cannot explain) to the Manalo Family, to Mrs. Manalo, especially to the driver and conductor of Igan bus who found my wallet and the initiative on their part to search for my number and contact me.
To the PNP of Muntinlupa especially to PO2 Arroyo for the assistance in retrieving my wallet even if it was no longer his duty. There are still people in this world with good heart, who share their kindness without asking for anything in return.
Mabuhay Po Kayo!
Ang inyong kabutihan at katapatan ay nararapat tularan ng bawat Pilipino
I believe in the saying that a random act of kindness can make a huge difference; and wherever there is human kind there is a chance for kindheartedness.
To my robber, wherever you are praying for you and your companion. I know you are a victim as well, a victim of poverty. God can change your heart and your situation. God bless you.