I WAS having an early evening snack at one of the neat restaurants at a downtown mall when I noticed two young kids (a little girl and boy) standing about two tables away gazing at me. I did not pay much attention to them at first but as I partook of my snack, I couldn’t help but observe that both of them were egging each other to do something. What, I didn’t know then. As I watched them in their tug-of-war, a thought occurred to me that these two must be on to something. True enough, in a little while both of them mustered enough courage to come near my table. Then the elder girl timidly pretended to ask what time I had in my watch. As I turned around to look at them, I noted that both of them were wearing their public school uniform. And just as I suspected, they both had a plan. Our conversation went this way:

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Little Girl: Sir, ano oras mo? (What time do you have, Sir?)

Me: A las siete y media (7:30 p.m.)

After pausing for a while, perhaps to muster enough guts, she went on.

LG: Sir, pila man ang bili sg imo guina-kaon? (How much does your food cost?)

Me: Ngaa haw? (Why?)

At this point, I noticed that girl and the boy were growing a little nervous. But the girl was audacious. And on we talked.

Me: Gab-i na ni, ngaa wala pa kamo ka puli?

(It’s late already, why haven’t you gone home?)

LG: Kay Sir, kaina pa kami sg aga nga wala ka kaon.

(It’s been since this morning that we haven’t eaten.)

Me: Diin na ya ang inyo guinikanan? (Where are your parents?)

LG: Patay na ang amon tatay kag nanay. (Our parents are both dead.)

Me: Ti, kay sin-o kamo naga-istar? (With whom do you live with?)

LG: Ga-istar kami sa amon tiyo kag tiya. (With live with our uncle and aunt.)

Me: Diin kamo ga-eskwela? (Where do you go to school?)

LG: Sa Andres Bonifacio Elementary School (At the ABES.)

Me: Ti, wala kamo guina-tagaan balon sg inyo tiyo?

(Doesn’t your uncle give you allowance?)

LG: Wala, Sir. Maski gani plete wala. Ga lakat lang kami pa-eskwelehan.

(No, Sir. We don’t even have money for jeepney fare. We just walk to school.)

Me: Diin kamo ga puli, haw? (Why, where do you go home?)

LG: Sa San Mateo, Banago.

As I was interviewing the girl, I began to notice that she was trying hard unsuccessfully to hold back her tears while her younger brother (in Grade 1) just innocently stood by oblivious to our conversation. But his eyes were hungrily fixed at the last remaining slice of cake that I had. At the onset, I tried my best not to show any emotion myself as we were talking but a lump was beginning to grow in my throat as that girl narrated to me their sad tale. Thus, without much ado I called for the waiter and ordered some food for the little girl and boy. You should have seen the tears of joy trickle down the face of that girl as I instructed the waiter to serve them well after I have gone. After footing the bill, the waiter confided to me that… “Pirme na` di sila, Sir, gahulat kon may maalwan nga mag hatag pagkaon sa ila nga duha pareho sa imo” (They always come here, Sir, waiting for some kind hearted people like you to share food with them). The waiter even teased them how lucky they were to be treated to a free meal. Before I left, I also gave them some loose change as well for their transportation fare back home.

Boy, did I feel so good as I went my way. And the thought of that little girl and boy eating heartily still pleasantly lingers in my mind. I could not, for the likes of me, explain what made me do that – treat those two kids to a meal when I did not even know them. It did not even occur to me that maybe they were just pretending. Oh, what the heck? It’s the feeling of having done a good deed that’s what’s important. I still recall what I was taught as a Boy Scout – of doing a good deed daily. Some call it a random act of kindness. Or maybe Cupid shot me with his arrow so that I may look kindly at those two hungry little souls? After all, it’s the Season of the Heart. Indeed, love comes from the most unexpected of places.

“Happy Season of the Heart,” everyone.