Yap: What a prick

Alexis Yap

Lex in the city

IT IS our Sunday habit to hear mass at the Basilica del Sto. Nino. We always choose to go at 7pm because it does not get too crowded and too humid. We used to go to the 5:30pm mass but I always get claustrophobic walking out of the church when the mass ends. The crowd is literally skin-to-skin and I always have morbid thoughts in my head of a possibility (God forbid) of a human stampede (I know, right?).

Regular Basilica goers would know that walking out of the church after mass is not a very convenient task. The human traffic hits a bottle neck by the main gate of the church. As if that wasn’t enough, several vendors block the passage way right in front of the gate. Some sell candles, while some have little carts that display all sizes of the image of the Sto. Nino plus other items for sale.

This is what happened last Sunday.

As we were trying to make our way through the crowd after the mass, one lady vendor stopped my companion, and immediately put on a safety pin on his shirt. The pin carried a scapular and a picture of the Sto. Nino the size of a slightly large stamp.

In the process, he got pricked by the sharp end of the safety pin. Then, he was asked for P20 as payment for the item she voluntarily and recklessly put on my friend’s shirt.

Here is my issue. I wonder how many people that lady vendor has tried to sell that particular item to and pricked in the process. Some church-goers have the guts to decline. So, the lady would have to take back the pin and again try to pin it on another person. What if the previous person she had pricked had some kind of disease, ailment, or illness that could contaminate another person. HIV, hepatitis and other serious diseases could be passed on from one person to another by that pin.

Lucky for my friend, the needle didn’t go through his skin. We tested it by immediately applying alcohol on the affected area. He didn’t feel any sting at all.

We understand that these vendors are only trying to make an honest living. But until their method of selling will be regulated, we church-goers have to be vigilant of these unsterile needles that may land on our unsuspecting shoulders. And while these things need to be looked at, we can only also pray that the vendors and their carts be assigned to certain areas outside the church that could help ease the human traffic exiting the basilica after mass.

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