Earning It

I was at a gas station having my tires air pumped when a man passed by bringing chaffing dishes, tied in straws, for sale. By his looks he was in his late 30's, neat and kind-looking. It wasn't hard to miss him wearing a bright orange shirt on a sunny day. I looked at him and he gave me a light smile and he showed me the dishes saying they were only worth 200 pesos and I could pay it in installment basis, 10 pesos per day.

I thought about buying one but eventually I said no, thinking I didn't have enough money with me and I won't be using that at home either. He walked ahead as I got inside the car and drove off to school. My heart broke. He didn't seem to be living somewhere near so it must have taken him a long walk to get there.

I wished I hadn't seen that man nor heard his selling. Did I hear him right? 10 pesos per day? Other than trying to persuade me to buy, he looked serious about it. My daily allowance was more than that and I barely need half of it for my essentials just to get through a day in school. What about him who, most probably, has his own family to support? Thinking about that man made me feel so awful I forced myself to think of other stuff just to get me distracted. It led me to think of another awful incident I had just days ago.

I was in a jeepney to school on an early morning. I was seated next to a man who looked old enough to be a parent and was dressed in a simple jeans-and-shirt for work. He seemed harmless. The next thing I know, he was surfing my pocket with his hand hid behind his bag. I saw his hand right beside me and my cellphone out of my pocket. Luckily, I wasn't too late. When I moved to check on my pocket, he immediately removed his hand from it, leaving my cellphone hanging just right there. He was a laggard and a loser, and he was good that way.

Two men trying to make a living. Hard way or easy way. Good way or bad way.

That night, I prayed for the chaffing dishes vendor to meet the fruits of his labor soon. As for the frustrated robber, I couldn’t help but loathe him up to this day.

It is sad to think that people do evil ways as a result of poverty. In the face of hopelessness, some people resort to doing a crime just to survive, even at the expense of other people’s lives. They go the easy way out. Whatever happened to striving for something to earn it?

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