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Monday, June 22, 2009

Have you ever wished for a heavier traffic?


Have you ever been inspired and entertained by taxi driver?

I do, but it took me two bastards before I got lucky. I am in a hurry and decided to take a cab instead of commuting. I was in Mandaluyong City and needed to go to Tomas Morato Avenue, for some gig after work. The first cab driver told me he couldn’t take me there because he is actually on his way for dinner.

I just said “Ok,” but I’m cursing him inside my head – What the hell! Why stop at waiting passengers? Just go directly to your damn dinner, for crying out loud! But I know better than to argue with him.

The next cab driver, who looked bored and problematic took me in, but after a few blocks he asked me, “Sir, which street should we take, I don’t know how to get there.”

“Huh? I’m not actually familiar with streets, that’s why I took a cab and, sir, you don’t know that major street in Quezon City?” I inquired, astonished by his dumb alibi. I casually asked him to let me out. I know these scheming bastards are just looking for extra money from their passengers.

I almost lost my temper, but no, these bastards are not that important to make me upset. I decided taking a bus but I don’t know which route so I patiently waited for another taxi - just one more try.

The third cab driver just asked me where I want to go and took me, no questions asked, not asking for additional payment and I felt his enthusiasm. He was silent at first, and I prefer not to talk too. Trust is something you really can’t instantly give in Metro Manila nowadays. After a 20-minute silence, his A.M. radio announced the total cases of A(H1N1) in the Philippines.

“You know what, they are just over reacting and some politicians even used this issue to get emergency funds for them to corrupt,” he casually said. At first, I don’t know if I should react or just ignore him. I decided to give a short “U-huh” followed by “well, that’s possible,” just to be agreeable.

“It’s very sad. It’s hard to trust strangers in Manila nowadays. Everyday I am seeing people walking on the streets, constantly afraid,” he said out of nowhere. I instantly felt his sincerity and decided engaging into conversation with him, which I seldom do – just hoping for a little wisdom from an experienced cab driver.

First, he shared his amusing story about how a couple, the woman pretending to be pregnant, had successfully robbed him. Then, a father with his small kids managed to run away without paying him.

“How could a father do it in front of his children?” he sighed, concerned about the children’s values when they grow up. He also shared his experiences as an orphan, first adopted by a businessman who make him work in a swine farm, decided to leave them, then adopted by a foreigner managing a nightclub and a casino. He said he dreamed of becoming a lawyer someday, but his circumstances are against it. He worked in a casino as a slot machine technician and observed the life of a gambler, “always miserable,” he said.

“If you have an enemy, and you really want to make his life miserable, teach him how to gamble,” he advised me, laughing.

He continued his story when he got arrested and jailed during the Marcos regime, befriended an Arab, who turned out to be a high ranking official in UAE’s embassy in Manila and offered him a job in Saudi. He finally got married, blessed with a son and a daughter, both graduated from the University of the Philippines, with honors, currently had a high paying job. His daughter further pursuing her studies by taking up Law. Upon hearing this, I inquired why is he still driving a taxi?

“Son, here is a piece of advice I will give you when you have your own family. Strive hard to make your children have a better education, because you love them, not because you are expecting that someday they will make your life financially easier when they are already working. They will have their own family and millions of priorities other than you. Strive hard to have your own money for retirement and live a simple life. I am blessed with a grateful son and daughter and I know they will not forsake me because they know that money is not my sole reason in helping them to become successful. They will always understand why I am still a cab driver, I love this job and this is how I explore life,” he said with conviction and sincerity."

This totally astounded me. Some parents require their children to help them financially when they have their own work. This is an unwritten rule in a typical Filipino family. Some sons and daughters do it as forced obligation, as a personal responsibility driven by social norm, not solely for gratitude and love.

His name is Winniefredo Yaon, the taxi driver who gave me the best one-hour taxi ride of my life. He showed me the realities of life, the value of service, honesty, love of work and perseverance. He perfectly reminded me of Wally, the cab driver in the story “Are you a duck or an eagle?”

I was inspired, entertained and amazed during that short one-hour ride.

That is the first time I wished for a heavier traffic.





3 C O M M E N T S:

rel='nofollow'> I am Xprosaic Tuesday, June 23, 2009 12:59:00 AM  

Hmmm... I do got a lot of conversations by some taxi cab drivers but of different levels... i still prefer placing a bar in between just not to get too comfortable... ever since, it always works for me... hehehehhehehehehe...

rel='nofollow'> r-yo Tuesday, June 23, 2009 7:07:00 AM  

that indeed was an inspiring conversation. i emphatize, as my parents also followed the same principle.

rel='nofollow'> kmalcolmy Wednesday, August 11, 2010 7:29:00 AM  

finding a good driver is a hit and miss situation... this is a great driver nonetheless.

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Yodi Insigne
Yodi de Veas Insigne is one of those delusional sorts who imagines himself a useful contributor to the greater blogosphere (Well, that's what he's trying to accomplish).

He started blogging for three reasons:

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