Jeepney rides

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Before the last passenger boarded the jeep, the driver had already turned on the engine, something that made our cramped, humid bodies vibrate. It had just rained: the road outside was wet with dew, the afternoon sky was bleak, save for the remaining orange sprays of the setting sun.

"Bayad." A twenty-something, dressed in tucked in polo and black slacks, motioned me to get his seven-peso worth of fare, to hand it to the driver who was seated on the right end.

I, too, grabbed my purse, a handmade black-and-white piece of fabric a friend brought from Sagada, to get my coins which amounted only to 6.50. I was short of 50 cents. That moment remembered my father who used to tell me a million will never amount to a million if a peso is missing. There was nothing else--I looked in my pockets, my bags, even the pages of my book--but all I had was a 500 peso bill my brother had lent me earlier.

I took the chance of being reprimanded by the driver. Shame on me. I passed the bill with quivering hands. When it finally reached him, he shouted, "Kanino 'tong limandaan?!" He returned it back, with added expletives, a sign that he was furious for he had no change for such big an amount.

In my seat, I closed my eyes and prayed. "Lord I don't know what to do. But I know You have something good planned for this."

When I opened my eyes, I saw a lady beaming at me and looking at me straight in the eyes. She probably saw me with the coins. She asked, "Magkano ang kulang?" ("How much do you lack?")

"Fifty cents," I said.

She gave me a five peso coin; I felt like I had just won a million. With a heartfelt smile, I said, "Thank you so much." Good people still walk on this earth.

When the jeep passed by my dorm, I motioned the driver to stop. It was already dark; night had come. I jumped out, my heart thankful to my Lord who has never once failed to provide for my needs.

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