ON MY way home after a night out yesterday, I dropped by at my usual go-to food joint at NGC to sober up a bit before calling it a night. And when I asked for my tab I was pretty sure I was underbilled. So I had to clarify it with the vendor. Apparently, it was her way of giving me a discount for being a regular there. I smiled and just thanked her for it.
I then moved to the adjacent food stall to have my dessert. Similar thing happened. I ordered a sweet delectable, but I was given two extra pieces of his other sweet products then the vendor smiled and said, "ok na yan sir."
I went home quite puzzled. Was it just my day? Did I look especially charismatic last night? I mean it was surely a breath of fresh air on this island where I got ripped off more times than in all other places I had been to combined. And the thing is, the act of kindness came from those even with very little profit margin just because they are glad and grateful for me patronizing their livelihood.
In a world "na parang Quiapo" there are still people brought up to have big hearts and poverty is surely never an excuse to be selfish and greedy. I could still remember how pampered I was by the locals when I stayed in a community of informal settlers up north a few months back. A testament that magnanimity is very present among the disadvantaged.
And so instead of outright accepting others' selfish tendencies and normalizing it as a tolerated culture, perhaps refusing to be taken advantaged is a good start to clarify community values. A good reminder for myself as I usually just let things pass when I get ripped off by friends.
Let us claim our dignity as humans. Hustling in life is a given, but we do not have to step on others or leech onto others just to succeed. We can always journey together and help each other out in achieving our dreams. No one should be just a means to someone else's goals. In fact, it is an even more reason for us to unleash our magnanimity within- that sense of reciprocity, of gratitude, of kindness, and of respect. In a dog eat dog world, that is the silver lining.
Thank you Ate for the discount and thank you as well Toto for your freebies last night. Thank you both for reminding me that people can be and are actually generous.