Last week, I was in Manila and visited some friends. I got there around 10 in the morning and decided to go grab some coffee and fries for breakfast. Not such a great breakfast combo at McDonald’s, I know. But it was a guilty pleasure. Haha. A friend accompanied me and decided to get a hot fudge sundae.
On our way out, a boy (about 7-8 years old) approached us and was asking for money. I’ve been frequently told not to give money to kids on the street because of a lot of modus operandi on older people using kids to get income and that they, the kids, might get used to people always giving them money without actually working for it so I was a little hesitant.
He looked at me with a tired face and said “Pahingi naman ng pera, bibili ako ng kanin at ulam.” My friend offered to buy him candy and the kid just seemed to ignore what he said. My friend offered his sundae, put it on his hands, and the kid grasped it and looked back at me. He still seemed like he wanted more.
He didn’t want my fries, he didn’t want the sundae. He wanted my money.
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To be honest, I really didn’t have anything else. All the money I had left was for my commute. I looked at him and said, “Pasensya na po, wala na akong mabibigay sayo.” My friend and I walked going up the footbridge and the boy followed.
All of a sudden, he started scratching me. Not lightly, but so hard it left red marks on my arm. I took his hand and stared at him. “Wala na talaga akong mabibigay. Sorry.” I said as I moved him aside.
He ran in front of us and blocked our way. Passers-by already started looking at him and saying: “May pulis dyan sa baba, wag mo na sila guluhin!” He didn’t mind that. He stayed in his place, and my friend moved him as far away from me.
We continued walking and he ran towards us and started scratching me again! “Pera na, pera! Pahingi na.” I ignored him and walked straight. My friend held him and let me get to the stairs. When I got to the middle, my friend caught up with me. To my left side, I saw the sundae we gave fly down the stairs, almost missing my head by a few inches!
I looked back and saw him as he stared at us in contempt.
Wow. This kid.
We were completely appalled by what just happened as we walked away. Passers-by stopped and stared at us as we went by.
I shared the experience to a few friends, and summarized it on Twitter. I felt so sad. I felt angry.
I wanted to run back and teach that kid some discipline and respect. Moreover, I wanted to get even. I would probably even pray that he gets what he deserves soon. Karma?
Then again, he IS getting what he deserves. On his daily grind. Each and every time. I’ll be waking up on a good bed, and it might be likely that he won’t. There was no use to get even.
I prayed that night, not for his demise, but for him to change for the better. Whatever pressure there might be in his life, in which I’m sure he gets a lot of, he should learn to put it to good use and channel it into doing something better. I wouldn’t know what the kid wanted exactly: money for food or medicine, vices and other drugs, debt, for a friend. But what I did know was that he wanted it bad. And when you want something that bad, “ask and you shall receive” isn’t always the best advice.
When you’re down, supposedly the only way to go is up. My father always told me to work hard for what I want. I was only given what I needed, and when I wanted something, I had to work for it. I never begged or annoyed anyone to give it to me.
Kids like him should be taught of the importance of goals, values, and determination. Refusing to teach them, or ignoring these kinds of behavior will only be trouble for the next generation. They’re going to end up growing with the same kind of thinking: that they can get things they want by force. They’re always going to think that someone’s going to be giving them money all the time.
Money that other people have worked hard for.
Come to think of it, I think it was wrong to just walk away from what had happened.
They will become an epidemic to the society: the kids who grew up without values and determination. We keep asking for a leader who carries such traits but won’t find the time of day to cultivate those kinds of leaders. Over-population wouldn’t be so bad if everyone was productive, don’t you think? We keep complaining that there are so many who depend on others to make their lives better for them and blame the government and the rich for how their lives came to be. These kinds of people start off as little kids from the street (literally and figuratively).
We can actually connect and connect and connect and address so many other social issues with this experience. It suddenly all appears like some domino-effect, all intertwined and related, and altogether we’re just facing this multi-faced monster of a problem.
I’ve always wanted to have something to stand up for and I think this might be it. To find another purpose in life is so meaningful! To teach children, the future of the society, the values and the importance of goals and determination is a duty we all have to fulfill and I encourage everyone to make this one of their purposes, too.
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