Sunday, May 18, 2014

The Jeepney Dispatcher

   Vicky moved to Las Piñas when her sons were in high school.  She had an old black Beetle Volkswagen which they used only for family trips.  She preferred to take the jeepney going in and out of their village to the main road which has the malls, cinemas and a wet market.  

   In the madness of packing and resettling Vicky went to market without make-up with her hair simply tied at the back wearing shabby clothes.  The jeepney dispatcher whose job was to make sure the jeepneys were loaded and the passengers were properly lined up mistook her for a housemaid.  The man who had tattoos and homeless thin got friendly with Vicky.  She got friendly back.  Every time their path crossed they said hello.  Then the dispatcher started to ignore her.  She realized he must have seen her driving and realized she was not a housemaid and that he did not merit her friendship.  When Vicky saw the man with a little girl she found an opportunity to get reacquainted.  She stopped to complement the girl who turned out to be his daughter.  Their passing friendship was back on.

   When her sons saw their mother being friendly with the dispatcher they voiced their disapproval as soon as they got home.  The boys said the man looks like a criminal and might try to rob them.  Vicky said she didn’t share their opinion and thought the man meant no harm.  

   Some months later successive hold-ups have been reported along the jeepney route.  They said the robbers got on the jeepney from the passenger line.  The community got alarmed.  There was no telling which jeepney could be carrying robbers.  Then Vicky’s sons heard the dispatcher has been picked up as the mastermind.  

   As soon as they got home they lashed at her with their ‘We told you so!’.  They were surprised at their mother’s response.  She asked the boys “Have you ever been robbed on the jeepney ride home?”  To which they said “No.”  

   “Don’t you think we owe that to my befriending the dispatcher?”  

   To this day Vicky wonders whatever happened to the man and his little girl, wishing him well.

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