Armel the Amazing
Today, I met one of the most amazing person in the world and the kicker? He’s a complete stranger.
I was on my way to Quezon City to deliver my very first Chunky Monkey creation to Ms. Tinna. I usually take the MRT because it’s faster than taking a cab or a bus. As I was about to take the first step, I saw this blind guy trying to navigate his way up the steps. I stopped to watch him and the people around him just to check if he was with someone but nobody paid him any heed and instead rushed past him and bumped him as they rushed along. I don’t know what possessed me but I immediately tapped him on the shoulder and took his arm and told him that I’ll be his guide until he gets to where he’s going.
He was surprised and rightly so. Nobody trusts anybody anymore, especially here in Manila. I spoke softly and assured him that I was in no rush and that I was adamant in helping him and there was nothing he could do about it. Not in a scary voice of course. I made him wait in a safe corner away from the rushing crowd as I went to get my own ticket.
He and I started talking and he asked if I had any kids and I said I do. He then asked if I had any grandkids. I laughed and told him “No, I don’t. At least I hope not.” I didn’t correct him nor did I feel offended that he thought I was an old woman. It’s kind of sad now that I think of it in retrospect – it’s as if in his mind through his experiences, the youth doesn’t seem to care anymore. Besides, I know I sound like an old woman. Hello, Kathleen Turner? You have competition!
I found a seat for him and preferred to stand up in front of him so that I can protect him from the other passengers. I don’t know why I did this – why I was so protective of this stranger. We started talking and he was saying that yesterday’s SONA protestors really angered him. “Lahat na lang ng nakaupo na presidente, ayaw nila. Puro sila reklamo at puro sabi na dapat ganito o dapat ganyan! Lahat na nga ginagawa ng gobyerno eh! Sila? Anong ginagawa nila? Imbes na magprotesta at manakit ng mga tao, bakit di na lang sila maghanap ng trabaho, mag-alaga ng mga anak nila! Isa pa yan, anak sila ng anak pero ayaw namang magtrabaho! Bakit naman ako? Naghahanap buhay ako! Maraming trabaho dyan, masyado lang silang choosy.” (These protestors hate every single president that was elected. All they do is complain and demand that this or that should be done! The government is doing what they can but what about them? What are they doing? Instead of protesting and intentionally hurting people, why don’t they just look for jobs or take care of their kids? That’s another thing – they keep on having kids but they don’t have any job or means to feed these kids! Look at me! I’m working! There are a lot of jobs available out there. They’re just too choosy!)
I chuckled and agreed with him and said “Naku Kuya, dapat po tumakbo ka!” (Kuya, you should run [for office])
“Naku di ko gagawin yan. Madadapa ako!” (I’m not going to do that! I’ll trip/stumble!)
I literally laughed out loud. The people around us who were listening in to the conversation started laughing again. Wow. This guy is amazing. He’s even got a sense of humor!
We talked some more and we exchanged little bits and pieces about us. Turns out he’s from Isabela and I told him that I love the pancit cabagan that I had when I was there. He shared a secret place that made authentic pancit cabagan in Las Pinas. He said that he was getting off at Santolan and I really was worried about leaving him to his own devices but he seems to have everything in control. As a last piece of “mothering” I asked if he had an umbrella. “May payong ka po ba? Mejo makulimlim po kasi eh” (Do you have an umbrella? It’s a bit dark and gloomy)
“Lagi naman pong makulimlim para sa akin eh.” (It’s always dark and gloomy with me)
Another bout of uncontrollable laughter from the both of us and from the people around us.
I was almost sad to see him leave. I asked if I can have a photo with him and he obliged. As he was leaving, I asked him his name. His name is Armel. I had to control myself from hugging this amazing man.
I don’t think he realized that he has changed my mood, my perception in life and my appreciation for the things that I usually take for granted.
Thank you Kuya Armel. I really hope that I see you again soon.