Tragic Easter Sunday
by Vladimir Rom Matias, LLB
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Unexpected things or events really happen when one is unprepared and preoccupied with lots of assignments. Easter Sunday, April 8, 2012, while proceeding to work as a call center agent, an unexpected tragedy occurred to me while in a passenger jeepney. Four of my precious frontal teeth which I diligently took good care of since childhood perished in an instant because of an indiscriminate stoning by one of society’s bad elements. After non-stop altercation with the jeepney driver on paying the right fare, a passenger gangster devised a wicked plot to vex and harass the former which the latter carried into fruition upon arrival at Litex QC. The gangster wanted to get back at the driver by attempting on the latter’s life.
When he threw the big piece of hard rock soon after alighting from the conveyance, the driver was not hit. Someone else was. It was my most pitiful and shameful moment: instead of going to work to earn a living, I went to the nearby hospital. At a medical center, almost all of the hard-earned money in my pocket was spent on medical procedures, laboratories, medicines and so on. In a week, I did not eat any solid food because I cannot; my gums were bleeding, my teeth swollen, and my mouth crashed. In an unexpected turn of events when the Holy Week was already over, I was forced to fast. Only liquids which must pass through a food pipe occupied my stomach.
With molested teeth and swollen gum, I had no option except to stay away from work as I cannot speak in a working environment where speaking is the main business. Even if I tried, the words spoken were unclear and the blood oozing from my broken lips fell like teardrops.
Spending almost P100,000 – more than five times my monthly take home pay – for hospitalization, medicines, doctor’s professional fees and all, I found myself impoverished. The company where I was supposed to report to work on that fateful day extended little help. I always tell my friends that the very reason I was riding that passenger jeepney was that I wanted to fulfill my duty religiously as a call center employee, albeit I was assigned to start a shift at a time when many are still asleep and the throes of criminality actively roam the streets.
The stoning incident left me more miserable. No one from the lending industry ever bothered to lend a hand. My employer back then failed to show compassion and sympathy. There was no promise of help. It was my family, especially my sisters as they used to be, who were there. My sisters are actually even more penniless than me. But to see them right beside me when I needed them most lifted my spirit. Thank God for giving me such loving and caring sisters.
To the stoner, you knew I was not privy to any misunderstanding you have had with the driver on the propriety of paying your fare. Common reason dictates that for every service one avails of, he must pay for it. For a public utility driver who is relying on his meager income to support a family, collecting fares meant food for his children. On that felonious day, clearly, you were not at right side.
To whoever you are who stoned my face to almost a sure death, if you think you scored a point, you did not. You may feast at the sight of having inflicted pain, suffering and a permanent scar on my face and body, your happiness is only short-lived. Later in your life, you will ultimately be answerable to God Almighty. The Holy Bible states: "...whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me (Matthew 25:40)."
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