Walking in the Middle of Nowhere… and the Good Samaritan who saved my sanity

I missed bus today by a minute or so. No big deal. IRRI is not really far off. You can reach it in 5 minutes by car. But coupled with heavy downpours, flooded pathways and no public transportation making a trip there? I should not have been late, really, if not for that last-minute bike repair I needed to do—to no avail. I was sort of freaking out.

Missing the shuttle bus by a minute can definitely spell disaster

Anyway, hesitantly, I left the house just when the rain shower was at its peak. I so wanted to wait for the next bus schedule, but that would be an hour more! I just couldn’t be that late for work, so armed with my umbrella (using it for the first time. Thanks, Mom!), brand new New Balance shoes (Thanks, NB!), and my brand new socks (again, thanks to NB!). Why the hell did I use all these in the midst of a crisis? If you only knew, I really would have wanted to get in the house and change; but hey, rubber slippers to work? Sorry but I just had to choose protocol over practicality.

So I rode a jeepney and as expected, I had to go down at the Engineering Building. Public transpos do not go beyond it, a.k.a. No jeepney goes to IRRI. I can do this, I told myself. It felt romantic, really, to walk under the rain. Then boom. What are these, flooded pathways?

Both sides of the road were flooded, with people folding up their pants and carrying their shoes. Call it lazy but really, How will I dry up, let alone use, all my soaked clothes and shoes in the office?

I don’t think bad drivers exist in the campus anyway, in the early morning that is. So I braised myself, grabbed my courage, and walked in the middle of the narrow two-way road, which is the least affected of the rising waters. Others may call it crazy, as some have shouted at me, with utmost concern of course, “Hoy ‘wag ka diyan sa gitna!!!” But I was too conscious of saving my brand new shoes, of not exerting more effort to go home just to change yet again for work.

Walking along this road looks like fun if…

So on that probably one-kilometer stretch, I am a witness of the half-truth of my theory: Bad drivers do exist, but the good ones far outweigh them. I’ve seen, or probably felt, many cars almost screeching to a halt when they see this one crazy woman walking in the middle of the road. Some were more supportive than others. A few were plain idiots. But one stood out of the rest.

Probably too sorry for my situation, one UP employee, I guess on his early 30’s, stopped beside me and asked where I was going. He kindly offered his tricycle. I should not have talked to strangers, but really, I saw the sincerity in his eyes. I didn’t even doubt the legitimacy of his UP ID. It was only about 30 meters away but I felt it was the longest 30 meters of my life. I was just too tired mentally. Bad UP employees do not exist anyway. And no fake UP employee would carry a stack of rice stalks on his tricycle anyway.

I brought out my wallet but he kindly declined. All I ever said was “Thank You” a million times.

He was the only one, among the luxury and average car drivers, who stopped by and asked if I was okay. Maybe they were too busy and lazy, as I did, on thinking what they would do after I hitched a ride, along with my wet pants, socks, shoes and bag. Drying up the covers would take much time and money. So, just like the majority, “Kawawa naman.” Then pass.

But why did and how can this man, who seem to have the least of them all, stop by lend out a hand? If not for his kindness, my bad day feeling would have been compounded with my inability to sleep until the wee hours of the morning, my blah feeling on the bike trainer, my bike repair problems, missing the bus, and walking the flooded paths. Today would have been crazy. But my biggest thanks to this Stranger—He just made my day more than complete.

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