the father i loved, his pride and the cab driver who reminded me of this

“my son works for Accenture.” he spoke out after i briefly answered him why i looked so tired. i usually am open for a chat but there are just days- days like that- that i am too tired and too impatient to get home conversations with the taxi driver is out of the question. “he sometimes work too much.”

i look at his balding head on the rearview mirror. “that’s a nice company.” i commented nonchalantly. the rain was pouring down, though not angrily-but pouring all the same,on my way home. i was lucky he was one of those drivers who isn’t picky with the passenger’s destination or fond of always offering a flat-rate or else (i won’t drive you there) ultimatum.

a lot of them are like that.

“you seem to have a hard, pressuring job.” he looked at me from his rearview mirror. “which department are you working?”

i managed a faint smile. “finance, manong. sometimes, my job does require so much out of me.” while i was listening to his replies, it occur to me that he seems well-conversant. “what does your son do?”

“he’s a computer engineer. he works at accenture.” he repeated the second bit again. “my other daughter is I.T., she works for a japanese company.”

this i have learned about him: that he used to own a mechanic shop but life was hard and it closed down so he now drives their own taxi cab. his wife was a licensed chemist whom he has asked to stop working to take care of the family. “money was good,then. we never had a problem so it didn’t make sense for me to let her work too. i had more than enough to provide for my family. and then it was just downhill from there.”

but he has managed to send two of his kids to school for a degree (their two other children are still in grade school) inspite of it. and where others would probably just sit around waiting for their children’s next paycheck to get them through the month, he has found ways of continuously generating income by driving his taxi cab.

this, he never said so explicitly. in that brief moments when we talked, he wasn’t the one who brags that way. never for once did he mention he was glad they found better jobs so they can start helping them back. he said he was happy they have finished; he still believes education is the best legacy parents can give to their kids.

poverty didn’t seem to make him bitter; nor make him calculating and demanding. and as i paid him my fare (and a few pesos extra), he made me feel better.

i almost forgot how amazing and instrumental my father is to me but the cab driver reminded me of that. for beyond father’s illogical pride and traditional paternal stubborness, he was- and is – the guy who scribbles on fun-filled christmas cards in the absence of a single christmas decor in his non-christmas observing ship. he was the same guy who have waited and waited for months and months outside his nautical agency (sometimes on an empty stomach) for that little flicker of hope that he’s finally lined up for an assignment. he was the man who has to persevere over a minimal seaman salary because there was nowhere else to go and there are seven mouths (and more) to feed back home.

i was never asked for a payback. i was never hinted for one. i was not required, whatsoever, to extend back help as i was provided. for father, it is a one-way street between the parents and the kid.

but what kind of child would not want to share the grace? she must have lost herself in the process.

i blogged about this so you- the yuppies (young upwardly mobile professionals)- would remember what it took them to make it possible for you to get where you are now.

its not always about the money. no, it isn’t always about the money.

go, make them proud.


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