I don’t converse with taxi drivers. Whenever they would try to start a conversation with me, it’s either a political issue or a religious issue. I consider politics and religion two very touchy subjects. And so while the driver complains about the increase in gasoline prices or FPJ losing the presidential race, I just nod my head, give him sympathetic looks but absorb everything he’s saying. As one who studies consumer research, it’s highly important for me to be observant of these things.
It’s also difficult to engage in a discussion with the driver, as my opinion is most of the time poles apart from his. It was especially hard during the election fever. I would just bite my lip and listen to the driver campaign for FPJ. Though I wanted to do my part in convincing him that their were better presidential bets, I just kept my mouth zipped. After all, my life was in the hands of this stranger driving the car.
This morning was no different. The taxi driver complained about the fare reduction in the other regions of the country, complained about how the jeepneys had it going great for them. I listened to him intently as a researcher. But there was one more thing he said that struck not my brain anymore, but my heart:
“Kaya nga ako, nagpapasalamat na ako na wala akong sakit. Kahit na maraming problema diyan, basta walang sakit, masaya na ako. Basta nakakakain ng tatlong beses isang araw, nakakapamasahe, basta walang sakit. Pinapasadiyos ko nalang.”*
I looked at him and wondered if he was an angel in some way. It was as if he was telling me exactly what I needed to here. I myself have been pretty preoccupied with problems such as budgetting, our furniture, my yoyo-ing weight… but when he said those words, I felt my heart ache with a bit of shame and optimism at the same time. Here was a man who had not lost hope. Here was a man who strived hard everyday. Here was a man who was thankful for things we normally take for granted.
He was right. I said a silent prayer, asking God to bless this man and his day. I thanked God for sending this particular driver to me on a dreary Thursday morning.
Mr. Taxi Driver, wherever you are, thank you for reminding me about the little things I have forgotten. Thank you for reminding me that things aren’t all that bad. You’ve touched my life, and you don’t even know it.
* Translation: “I’m really thankful I’m not sick. Even if there are a lot of problems, as long as I’m healthy, I’m happy. As long as I get to eat three meals a day, am able to work, as long as I don’t get sick. I leave it all up to God.”