A Breeze of Good Deeds # 27: Manong Payong

What do you usually do with broken umbrellas? Do you simply throw them away? For some people, fixing a broken umbrella is their only means of stopping a growling stomach. Let me share a story with you. And at the end of it, you’ll understand why it’s worth sharing.

payongPhoto taken from here

I called in sick last Thursday. The dizziness and palpitations increased because of the medications I’m taking. I was having lunch with my parents when I noticed a man wandering in front of our house. It went on for a couple of minutes so I stood up to check. I peeked outside and saw a very old man sitting in front of our neighbor’s house. The man is probably more than seventy years old. He has a worn out backpack and lots of wrecked umbrellas. I told my mom that it was just a man fixing broken umbrellas. So she got off her seat and took out our old ones. She told my father that she’d just give those to the old man thinking that he could still salvage and reuse some parts.

She went out of the house and said, “Tatang o, sa iyo na lang itong mga ito.” The old man smiled and said, “Baka may sira kayo dyan, igagawa kita kahit kape na lang ibayad nyo.”

Just days after our encounter with Boy Lobo, I saw the same twinkle in my mother’s eyes when he saw Manong Payong. His wrinkled dark skin was proof enough that he’s out in the streets to make a living. Looking at how slow he walks, I told myself that people his age should already be retired and reaping the fruits of their labor. But there he was, asking some stranger for a cup of coffee.

My mom prepared the coffee and asked my father to give the old man a piece of bread with corned beef. He was supposed to dip the bread into his hot coffee when my dad told him, “Tatang, huwag mo ng isawsaw. May palaman na yan e. Ang sosyal mo nga Tang e, corned beef yan!” Manong Payong gave us a big smile in return. :)

I watched him as he meticulously fix the umbrellas. Once in a while, he would smile without any reason and utter some random words. My heart melted. People like Manong Payong keeps me inspired to work harder because I don’t want my parents to experience a hard life when they get older.

So you're probably wondering why I'm telling this...

My dad and I always tease my mom that I didn’t get anything good from her genes – asthma, thyroid problems, irregular menstrual cycle, a big nose and my kasupladahan all came from my mom’s DNA! Haha! But that day, I somehow realized that she did pass on something good to me. And that is charity. Genetics may not have a hand on it. But she has somehow showed it to me over the years. On that special day, I somehow felt how it’s like to have a kid who is graduating with honors. In other words, I was extremely proud of her.

But wait, there’s more!

I fell asleep. And when I woke up, I immediately asked my mom what happened. She was laughing while telling me that Manong Payong was giving her a shirt when she paid him fifty pesos. Apparently, he received 3 BINAY shirts from somebody. So Manong Payong offered her one. The old man told her, “E aanhin ko naman po ito? Ang dami dami e!” My mom declined the offer thinking that he needs it more than we do.

Generosity is not only limited for the rich people. I’ve heard the lamest excuse from people who say that charity is only for the rich and the famous. We’re not rich. But I hope that our simple gesture made a difference to the old man. Sometimes, we need to go the extra mile.

And Manong Payong offering us his shirt was truly a humbling experience. He’s traveling with an old and worn out backpack which is probably the only possession he has, but he didn’t hesitate to give us something as a sign of his gratitude.

A lot of times, we neglect to even say “Thank You” to someone who did us a favor. And those two words are just free. So imagine how more difficult it is to let go of our material possessions and share it to other people.

God is just so good! I was sick that day. But He gave me an eye-opener. He taught me to appreciate my parents more. He showed me the purest meaning of generosity. And to top it all, we now have a lot of usable umbrellas! :)

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