To be charitable in the narrating the event, I say that a druggy pedicab (padyak) driver effectively took away P140 from a gullible passenger.
That passenger was me. It happened so fast.
Alighting at the UN Avenue LRT station, I knew there were pedicabs lingering in front of Times Plaza. It was three minutes to 6pm, and riding one of those little things would hasten my travel (or at least keep me sweat free) and arrive on time for the Mass at the Ermita Church.
Long story short, the loud-and-foul-mouthed driver of the pedicab was using all his might to beat all the red lights and still fell short of being able to drive his vehicle fast enough. Earlier I said everything happened so fast. No. It was slow.
But the real bad thing was: the sweaty, skinny man demanded 140 freakin’ pesos for that lousy trip. I was only willing to pay him P10 or double that. And I had a Mass to catch.
Then I saw his red, impatient eyes. I got scared. I tried to joke/complain that he was even very slow, what made him think he deserved such a fare. He said — almost shouting in disappointment — that he was paying “lagay” (bribe) to the authorities of the area (and that being near Times Plaza was beyond his boundary — whatever that meant), and that’s why he and his colleagues demand such unjust fares.
Well, no offense, manong, but thanks a lot for making me complicit to your illegal endeavors.
And then he said something about bringing food to his family.
Fr Edric was preaching something about peace. How could I be at peace when I felt like I had just been held up and “robbed”? I could, of course, just throw the manong my P20 bill and scrammed to the church. But I chickened out and didn’t want any physical violence on my way to Mass. And I think I did try to give him the benefit of the doubt.
Oh, this thing about injustice, it gets into you — even while you’re at Mass. I struggled to concentrate. But he took P140! That’s as good as taking the taxi from work to here! Then I remember his druggy eyes and his foul mouth; I’d probably be worse if my current situation was different.
“Forgive them for they know not what they do.” It does take a God to say that!
And it takes a stupid man to say “oh deym”.