Dear Stranger, (I wrote this to the stranger I rode the jeepney with)
When you got on the jeepney, I’m sorry if I couldn’t help staring at you. You had a paper bag hanging on your right amputated arm. One arm was totally amputated that your left sleeve was dangling on your shoulder. I tried my best not to look at you and pretend that it’s just normal, but it’s not normal.
During the trip, I was wondering what happened to you. Did fireworks explode on you? Did you have cancer or diabetes that the last resort was to amputate your arms? Did you have an accident that caused you this misfortune? I also wondered if you were worth pitying and how you’re going to pay for your fare when you didn’t have hands to pass your money to and you didn’t have a companion to pay for you.
I got off at my stop in Ayala, but I was still thinking of you. Until now, I could not fathom at all how you paid the jeepney without your hands.
I admired your audacity to ride the jeepney on your own without any companion and without a fear of how others would look at you even if you are challenged. You have the courage that I, myself, complete from head to toe, do not have. I admit that I am still apprehensive of riding the public utility vehicle. I am so conscious of how I dress and still hesitant to ask strangers to pass my fare to the driver or conductor. You may not know me; I may not know you and we’ll probably not meet each other again, but you taught me that I should not give a da*n to what others think of me.
I hope that in your struggles, you’d find the strength you need in your family and friends. If all else fails, look up and remember God loves you and He’s always there for you.