Tuesday, September 20, 2016

The Tricycle Driver

   I was raised by old school women, my mother and grandmother, who knew how to handle money.  They were thrifty to a fault.  Between their generation and mine, I developed a unique way of managing finances.

Game and Watch
From: upload.wikimedia.org
   In the 80’s, when medical attention was required, I took my children to Medical Center Manila (MCM).  When I needed medical attention, I drove to Philippine General Hospital (PGH), left my kids in the car playing with their Game and Watch while I suffered the long line for free diagnosis.  Afterwards, we spent the amount I would have spent on a private hospital in Pizza Hut.

   In the 90’s my sons had families of their own.  I took my daughter on package tours paid by credit card.  I called it “5 day millionaire-2 years poor”.  I scrimped to pay the card and make ends meet for 2 years.  Then, we’re ready to go touring again.  We went to Hong Kong, then Bangkok, Thailand, then Cebu on board Superferry.
Hong Kong

   At that time, my daughter lived in a Ladies Dorm inside University of the Philippines, Los Baños campus.  I was living in another Ladies Dorm in Makati City where I worked.  There was a tricycle lined up at the corner two blocks from the main street where I take a jeep to my office.  I skipped the tricycle ride to save money since it was only a two block walk.

   On a nice day, nobody noticed my choosing to walk.  However, one rainy night, I walked in the rain past the tricycle lined up as usual.  It was a clear day till it started to rain so I didn’t have an umbrella.

Tricycle line
From http://www.dutchpickle.com/
   The last tricycle driver on the line saw me walking in the rain.  He broke line to chase me.  Then he slowed when he caught up with me.

   “Mother, I’ll take you where you’re going.  You don’t have to pay,” the driver said to me.  (Mother is sometimes used to address an elderly woman of no relation.)

   “Thank you, you’re very kind but I’m almost home.  I’m fine,” I replied.

   The tricycle fare was loose change but my twisted penny-pinching made me choose to walk in the rain after working all day.  I told myself I can dry up when I get in my room.

   To this day, I remember that split second exchange and still appreciate the consideration that tricycle driver showed me.  He was working in the rain for nickel and dime, yet he offered me a free ride out of the goodness of his heart. 

See also: 
The Standbys of Makati 

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