Sunday, June 20, 2004

An Issue of Trust

This afternoon, while walking up Emerald Avenue towards Megamall, a man in his late forties asked for directions to EDSA. He seemed a feeble man, with sun-baked skin and a slow manner about him, and he spoke softly. I was more than willing to accompany him to EDSA since, after all, I was en route to Megamall.

He asked in a strange accent, "Are you honest?"

I smiled, "Yes, I am." Though in my mind I wondered at the question.

His odd inquiry about honesty did have some basis, for his briefcase was stolen. He was from Brazil, see, assigned to the Philippines for five years to work on some tech projects up north. His briefcase, which contained travellers checks and important documents, was taken by in his words, "a woman with a Bible."

I wouldn't blame him for his mistrust.

Thing was, he came from Greenhills on foot, and was willing to walk all the way to Makati to get to the consulate. He showed me a map drawn cleanly with blue and red ballpoints, and there written in large letters were the appalling words: 4 1/2 hours, walking.

He asked if he could go down San Miguel Avenue towards EDSA, and I gladly obliged giving directions. We parted ways at the corner of Banco de Oro; he didn't want to go through Megamall for he was wary of the crowds. I wanted to suggest the MRT, or a taxi cab, but I felt that this man would rather go about on his own. I watched him walk so slowly away, and prayed that he'd get to his destination safely.

There's something -- rather, a lot of things -- very wrong with the picture.

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