The old man

It rained heavily and on my way home, floods have dominated the streets that caused me to spend my remaining money for the fare to ride a vehicle. I have three choices then, first is to ride a Jeep, the second one is to ride a tricycle and lastly is to ride a cycle rickshaw or commonly called as Pedicabs. Among the three choices, riding a Pedicab is the most convenient of them all. The fare is not that expensive and the drop off point is straight to our house. Though it’s not as fast as the jeep and tricycle still I opted to ride on it since I am not in a hurry. I ambled towards the parking lot and there I found this kind of vehicle in a queue. I was so surprised to learn who’s in the first line to cater the service. Guess who? A frail and hunched seventy year old man whose face has mostly been hidden by wrinkles and I could tell that he is already physically weak. But what the heck, that old man is there? That was the question that perturbs my mind while deciding if I’ll take the ride or not. For a little moment I was in a hiatus until he persuaded me to go inside. I don’t know if he can manage to stamp his feet on the pedal just to get fifteen pesos for the fare. I am really a hesitant then but on my pity I decided to take the ride. He seems to be in dire need of money.

While on our way, I can feel his cold breath as he stamps his feet on the pedal through the potholes on the road. It feels that I am torturing him.

Asking him once in a while if he’s still okay has been my way of comforting my guilt. The old man would reply in a seemingly fine and untroubled voice, telling me not to mind him.

When I gazed upon the cornerstone near our street I finally decided to end his suffering and let him take a halt. I jumped out and handed him my fare. From his face lies a priceless smile, a smile only payable by a kind gesture and not by any material bliss.

There has been an ongoing debate about the retirement age of Government employees here in the Philippines whether to give them a choice to retire at the age of sixty or sixty-five. Some wanted to extend their service and some wanted to rest and savor their remaining time thus I personally believe that they should be given that choice.

I am praying with fingers crossed, hoping that our Government would also look up  on the situation of the poor old man I encountered on that fateful night. He doesn’t have a choice and I wish people like him may also be given a choice.

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18 responses to “The old man

  1. Myung

    I was deeply touched by this post of yours,John.I was busy these past few mos. thats why I cant take a visit here at your site.Anyway congrats medyo malayo layo na ang nararating ng blog mo..You already have many subscribers.I think i’ll transfer na din sa wordpress.
    Actually our President has many problems today as you can see and I don’t think he’s going to address this problem but I’m also hoping,Thanks for bringing this up..

  2. aww.. this is so nice. I have a ‘weak spot’ for lolos and lolas so I find this really sweet.

  3. wordsfallfrommyeyes

    This is a really lovely blog – you had so much feeling. I believe people should choose, too. I reckon you should be ABLE to retire after 60, if you wished. Some people can work on, some can’t.

  4. Hmm. There is same problem in our country. I will not be able to retire at 60 age but at 65.
    Many people oppose to the policy.
    On the other hand if you really like working, you had better work for a long time.

  5. Wow, this is a moving post. I would had felt guilty also. I too believe elders should have the right to continue working if they wanted to. I just wish they could get jobs that didn’t place them in harms way. God forbid he hurt his back or fell and twisted an ankle. That’d be terrible. It’s amazing that he was willing to do it and not complain at all to you about it. He’s one go getter.

  6. Hey John, I’m sure I did comment on this one but I think it went to your spam folder.. Anyways, reading this post of yours makes me so sad that even up to his age now, this old man still fight for survival. How sad this had to happen to some people and yeah, I wish that our government will give extra attention to them and that they’d be given a retirement pay regardless of whether they have contributions (SSS/GSIS) or not.

    Great post my friend!

  7. It breaks my heart to see old people still working for a living. If it’s only for keeping ones’ self busy it’s okay…but not in this case where the old man is still doing a very physically tasking job.

  8. I can see that you have a big heart John. It’s very kind of you to have empathy for that elderly man. I can’t wait to explore more of your blog. Your posts are very moving! :)

  9. i’ve always had a soft heart for old people.. esp. those who still work beyond their retirement age. i wonder what we can do to ease their situation…

  10. cry cry cry….woohh…i cant imagine if that were my grand pa or my dad at his old age. So sad to see situation like this. I think its everywhere in Asia, no? I admire the old man spirit thou, am sure he have no other choice :(

    And yeahh…ok John, by now I know you’re very good at heart, but stop making me crying reading your post. Ok!

  11. I almost missed this post. I almost cried…. The pictures and your words melted my heart. I feel for “Manong.” I really hope the government does something to protect and help every aging member of our workforce. These people have once dedicated their life working honestly and religiously paying their taxes. I hope the government does something in return.

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