My good friend passed by while I was parking my car. In my excitement to greet my long-time friend, I carelessly locked the door of my car. And lo and behold… I left the key in the ignition! After a brief chat, I had no choice but to go back home and get my spare key. Riding the pedicab was the easiest way to get back.
In no time, a young man was pedaling my way back – a whole 15 minutes of non-stop, muscle-powered ride. As the pedicab moved slowly along a narrow path, I felt a wonderful, unique feeling as the soft wisp of breeze cooled my face. I experienced a sense of closeness to nature as cogon grasses occasionally touched my arms. Indeed it was a ride of enjoyable sightseeing. Mt. Makiling was more beautiful to me in that pedicab ride.
“How long have you been in this job” I curiously asked the young man, when I got tired of looking around.
“Isang taon pa lang Ma’am” (Just a year Ma’am) and as if wanting to vent his feelings, he complained of how hard his job was.
“Noong unang nag-try ako, nilagnat ako sa pagod”(The first time i tried, I was down with fever because of fatigue.)
I could understand what he meant. I observed how hard it was to pedal the bike especially on an uphill road.
“Pero walang magagawa, kailangang kumayod.Wala namang ibang makuhang trabaho, Mabuti na ito kaysa mag-istambay.” (But there is nothing I can do. I need to work. I can’t find another job. This is better than being jobless )
I learned later on that he has two children, the eldest is 7, the youngest is 3. They were renting their house and his eldest was already studying.
I asked if it was okay if I ask how much he was earning per day.
“120 to 150 pesos lang Ma’am, may boundary pang 50”
Again he described the difficulty of his job.
‘ Maraming pasahero, ang problema 120 na pedicab ang naglalabanan sa pasahero”
Okay Ma’am pag malayo ang pupuntahan, may extra, pero bihira yun. Mas mahirap pag summer dahil walang istudyante at lalo na pag umuulan “pasma” naman ang kalaban”
(There are lots of passengers, the problem is that there are 120 pedicabs competing for them. Better, if I get rides from people who live far because of extra payment, but those are rare. It is much harder during summer, because there are no students. Harder still when it rains because of “pasma” or muscle fatique.)
I did not asked any more question. Suddenly, my heart was pricked with pity for people who have to literally sweat it out to survive, and they are many of them around. I was gripped with sadness on the reality of life that confronted me that moment. Yet I saw a big smile on his face when I handed him my round trip fare.
I got my key and returned back to where my car was parked, eager to drive home. I covered a mile in no time. I remembered the young man and his pedicab. Probably he was pushing all his might to bring two passengers on an uphill road to earn a few pesos.
“Is life unfair? “One might be tempted to ask. But life is not unfair. As the young man uses his might to bring one passenger to his/her destination, a fulltime mom like me, and all those office workers, vendors, bankers, teachers, etc. are likewise toiling in our own respective calling. Everyone has his/her share of problems and burdens, all in different shades and degree. But these are used by God to refine the character of those who fear Him.
Every man has an appointed place under the sun. If we are faithful in our duties no matter how humble or grand, the Lord will surely reward us. Ultimately, life is not about the material things we gained, or the honors we received or the comforts that we enjoy. The very purpose of our existence is to glorify God wherever He has placed us. In submission to God, there is joy and peace.