An unexpected friend

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Though he has not yet reached the thirties, he has already a beautiful family: his wife Elaine, a lovely Italian-looking lady, and their 3 children. Elaine and him are Christian and attend to service every Thursday and Sunday in one of the many “Iglesia ni Cristo” of the city. I know that it is a stereotype but I cannot help to attribute much of his kindness to his religion, since basically every practicing Christian that I have personally known has that sort of tranquil soul when you talk to them. When he was younger he had the fortune to get to know almost all the cities that compose Metro Manila. He learned how to drive when he was only thirteen or fourteen years old and would drive her grandmother’s car all over the place. That is how he can very well explain what is going on with the floods in Navotas, Caloocan and Malabon, and also tell you why is it that there is a wall surrounding the La Mesa Watershed in the east of the metropolitan area. He recalls one of those occasions as the time when he had to spent the most time stuck in the traffic jam. He had just taken her grandmother to buy some groceries and when they entered the highway he saw that the cars in front were all stopped and, since the level of the water reached almost the knee of a person, he just had to stop the car and wait in the place for seven hours. Not being able to go anywhere, he had time to go further by walk and see the situation closely and even go to a restaurant and get some food for his grandma and him. Fortunately, he nowadays lives in a house that does not suffer that much with floods. He recalls that it was during the heavy floods of 2009 the only time that there was a moderate level of flooding at his home, but it was not of the severity that made so many people lose all their belongings in other parts of the city. He is not the most outgoing person that exists, he usually goes through some doubts when approaching a new person, but he usually manages to do it. In most of the cases, his youthful air and his kindness make people like him quite quickly. That is why it was just some minutes after we began the fare in his Grab taxi that he decided to speak to the person next to him, me: “excuse me, boss, and where do you come from?” Two days later, he had helped us in our research in Barangay Tumana as driver, intermediary, translator, security, negotiator, photographer, tour guide and, above all, local friend, and I had already gotten used to the “excuse me, boss”, “thank you, boss”, “see you tomorrow, boss”.

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