Aug 23, 2012

That Jewish Lady

On my way home, just right before I hit the stairs to Ayala MRT station, I saw a woman looking at a small paper in her hand and the sign board (like a directory of Makati) kinda close to the staircase. She looked so lost and confused. I was about to take my third step on the staircase, but I looked back again because I felt guilty about ignoring the scene.
I wanted to get home as quickly as I could because my feet are kinda soaked in rain water and I desperately want to wash it, but I know I can never wash my conscience if I take another step up on the stairs. I fixed my eyes on her for a moment, then decided to approach her. I excused myself and asked if she needs help, she sighed and said 'yes'. 

She showed me the paper on her hand, it says Ayala MRT to Taft Avenue, and above it, it says EDSA Station to Pedro Gil. I told her I know how to get there, and if she wants, we could take the MRT together her since that's my way, I'll be getting off at Taft Avenue. I told her that after that, she would have to transfer to LRT to go to Pedro Gil. I patiently explained everything to her, after all, I was trained to give clear step by step directions when I was still on my first job. It was a piece of cake, plus, it really was a piece of cake because I know I can help her simply because I can speak in English. And, I love helping. I know it's not obvious, but I really do! I feel good when I know I've helped someone. A simple sincere 'thank you' can wipe all my stress away. Anyway, her face started to light up while we were talking, I felt her trust. I asked her where exactly she's going and where she was from. She said she's a house guest in some place in Pedro Gil and she has to get back there; she said she's from Israel. So, I asked if she is Jewish. I rarely see/meet Jewish people here; she's only the second Jewish person I've ever talked to.

She was grateful of my kindness, however, I bet she thinks the transfer to LRT would be inconvenient. She asked me how much it would cost her if she takes a cab instead; I just gave her rough numbers and told her it would cost more if she gets caught up in a traffic jam. After the little chit chat, she decided to take a cab instead. I pointed her to the taxi lane and told her to get on the queue. We bid goodbye but we didn't get each others' names! But that's okay, if I look back at that memory, she will be 'that Jewish lady' who got lost in Makati. To her, I bet I will just be 'that little girl she ran into at Makati'. 

I know I could have introduced myself right from the beginning of our conversation, but since I'm a big fan of Bob Ong, I didn't feel the need to give my name. According to Bob Ong, from his book Kapitan Sino: 'Tutulong ka lang, hindi mo kailangan ng pangalan', (All you gotta do is help, you don't need to say your name).

And I think he's right!

I also learned one more thing about that incident. Ever since I graduated from college, I have tagged myself 'LOST' (for reasons I'm not gonna bore you with) Ironically, in random incidences, I realized I've been GIVING directions to total strangers every time I'm on the streets. It could be people who need to go to DFA (Department of Foreign Affairs) and they're not from the city, sometimes foreigners who are not accustomed to Philippine protocols or a random person at train stations who can't tell which way goes to Monumento or EDSA. Apparently, I'm approachable to these people and I have no idea why they're coming to me instead of asking a security guard or much older people!

I just never thought of myself as a compass, map or a walking customer service representative, but I never thought a 'LOST' person like me could somehow give directions. It feels great! I hope I could do it more often,! 

Helping/Giving direction is one of the things I'll absolutely do for free.

I'd like to end this post with one of my favorite quotes from Dumbledore: 

'Help is given to those who need it.'
(I wrote this last year...it happened one afternoon while I was on my way home)

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