This scene may not be new to most, but I found this particular one really hilarious.
This just happened this weekend.
I was walking along a major city road one day. I hurried passed a fast food chain. The store was packed outside. It was a rush hour. Suddenly I felt someone tap me from behind. I turned around in time to see an old man. He was scruffy, pale and thin. He was wearing a hat and wore a dark shirt and pants. He carried a bag. He was mumbling something but because of the noise, I couldn’t make up what he was saying. I moved aside to let the old man pass. I figured that he was mumbling something like “padaan (may I pass).” I know I was big and can block any path easily. So I gave way.
He took two steps ahead of me and then suddenly stopped. He stood there, while pointing at somewhere and seemed to be mumbling.
I was stunned for a moment. I didn’t know what was happening. I can’t help but laugh at what was happening.
I walked passed the old man. Suddenly he tugged at my sleeves. “Ano ba! May sinasabi ako sayo, (I’m telling you something)” he said in a raspy and soft voice I could barely hear. “Hindi ako masamang tao. (I’m not a bad person.)”
I was curious. Although I have a feeling I know where this conversation was headed. I was in a hurry that day because we’re about to leave for a retreat. I was broke and tired. Plus, I need to be in our meeting place to check on the participants. But I guess curiosity got the better of me.
“Ano po yun? (What is it sir?)”
“Papunta kaming Bulacan, kulang pamasahe namin. (We’re going to Bulacan, we’re short on fares.)”
“Sorry po. Wala akong pera. (I’m sorry. I’m out of money.)”
“Sige na. Kahit konti lang.” Then he waved his hand in front of me. He was holding a twenty peso bill. I thought, this is crazy he’s saying he has no money but he’s waving a bill at me.
“Pasensya na ho. (I’m really sorry.)”
“Heh! Ang ayos ayos manamit tapos walang pera! (You’re wearing nice clothes but have no money!)” He grumbled, mumbled as he walked away. I was wearing my sweaty work shirt and regular jeans. My hair was even unkempt because I’ve been running back and forth securing things for the retreat.
Beggars cannot be choosers or even complain especially if you’re a syndicated beggar. They are around us. There are people who say that they are short on cash to go to some far off place. You take pity and offer the exact amount for their fare only to find them talking to people on the same street the next day. What’s even irritating is that they have the guile to get mad at any person who wouldn’t give them money or who would recognize them from yesterday. It’s one form of robbery that plays on pity and deceit.
I often wonder why people beg or steal. Some beggars are even bigger than me. Robbers are often times stronger than the people they rob. Couldn’t they find some nobler job? Couldn’t they find a better vocation? Washing dishes in a restaurant or lifting heavy objects may not get you close to buying a car or a house, but it doesn’t bring you close to death or jail either. I wonder why these men or women prefer to be lazy and get what other people painstakingly worked for.
Probably the government is to blame. Probably those senators and congressmen. Probably the president.
Then again, who chose to beg or steal? Who made the choice? The government may not offer a lot of jobs for everyone, but sometimes we have to make the opportunity. Sometimes, studying how to fish takes an innate desire to fish. You cannot just teach a man how to fish if the man doesn’t want to be taught.
Therefore, let’s get that hook, line and sinker.