Lesson # 29: From 2 little girls
The most heartwarming scenes in real life come when you least expect it.
There I was about to line up for the cashier in a supermarket when 2 small girls went before me. (I believe that the older one was no more than 6 years of age and the younger one was no more than 4) They hesitated for a moment when they saw me thinking that I would get mad because they cut the line but I simply motioned for them to go ahead and line up…
I watched the two girls, dressed rather shabbily, as they lined up. They were holding two small packs of chips. They were talking excitedly about what they were about to buy. The older kid, I noticed, was holding a piece of coin in her hand…
A single 10 peso coin.
I overheard them talking while looking at the prices of the chips they were going to buy… “Magkano kaya itong dalawa?” (How much do you think would these two cost?) Asked the older of the two. Of course, the younger one couldn’t answer.
I saw how much the chips cost when the older girl turned it over and computed mentally that it was below 10 pesos. 4.70 and 4.50. Not bad, I thought.
What happened next was beyond me and is something that I myself will not forget as it tore my heart open…
The kids went to pay. Tip-toeing just to be able to hand over the 10 peso coin to the cashier.
When they got their change… A few centavos… They both eagerly put it in one of the charity donation cans placed near the cashier…
A modern day parable of the old lady with the 2 coins. Right before my very eyes.
There I was buying candies worth 4 times as much as what they bought and giving nary a centavo to the donation can. There they were, with only 10 pesos in their hands donating what was left to a charity they probably don’t know much about…
Kids. So much innocence. Uncorrupted by sin, unblinded by money. Willing to give what they have for what they believe is right and worth it – 2 bags of chips and a charity.
80 centavos may not be enough. But they gave a whole lot more than I did.
There they were enjoying their bag of chips and feeling happy with what they bought.
There I was eating, yet feeling empty inside.
What has the world, particularly the adult world, come to?
We cling to money like leeches.
We hold on to material possessions until the death.
We spend guiltlessly on bags, jackets, shoes and other things.
We give back nothing.
Nothing because every peso counts.
Nothing because we can use the to buy stuff in the future.
Nothing because we don’t care.
And to think that we are supposed to be the ones teaching them lessons about life.
Maybe we ought to start taking lessons from them.
At the end of the day, I felt guilty. Guilty because I’ve been selfish and greedy. Guilty because I forgot that there were those who needed me. At the end of the day, I learned a lesson from those two girls. They don’t know it, but they woke me up from this daze caused by too much focus on money and other material possessions. They reminded me of something I think I forgot amidst all this hullabaloo… the aspect of giving back.
At the end of the day, I swore I saw those two girls peddling sampaguita on the road as I passed by inside my car.
Nakakaguilty. I’m sorry.