Christmas Chain Reaction

December 29, 2012 by mundanely sacred  
Published in Motherhood

A Christmas experience at a train in Manila.

December  25, 2012. On my way to our family Christmas gathering I took the train bound for D. Jose station from G. Puyat Avenue. In Manila all the light rail transit systems have a specific coach for women and differently abled passengers. I boarded that coach. At first, there was a bit of ruckus about a man boarding the women’s coach when he should not have been there. The security guard called two police officers to force him out of the train since he wasn’t cooperating. Then there was peace. However, there were several pregnant women, elderly, and a mother with a very small infant in her arm and they were all standing. None of the seated passengers offered their seats to those women. I looked  at the seated passengers, some of whom were young and strong enough to endure the ride on their two feet. I pitied the mother with her baby and the rest of them who should be seated but since everyone looked tired and caught up in their own worlds, no one bothered to mind those who were most in need. I couldn’t stand it. I couldn’t offer a seat to any of them because I was also standing and keeping my balance. So, I did the next best thing: I prodded a five-year old boy to give his seat to the mother with an infant as she was standing beside me, swaying along to the movement of the train. The boy frowned and did not budge. His grandma explained that he wouldn’t even sit on his mom’s lap so that another passenger could take his seat. His mother responded by asking her elder son, a boy of eleven years, to give up his seat so that the mother-and-infant pair could sit. He obeyed and stood, holding on to a vertical bar for support. I smiled and mouthed a silent “Thank you” to him. He smiled back. I suddenly remembered the nice, juicy apple that I have in my bag which I wanted to give to my mother. My Mom has eaten apples before but I guess the eleven-year-old boy has not yet had that fortune since he and his family did not look well off. So, out of gratitude for his kind gesture to the mother with an infant, I gave him the apple. He was surprised. I told him it was because of his kindness that’s why I gave it to him. His younger brother saw it and asked for some. Remember, he was the boy who did not give up his seat for the lady. I was touched by the older brother’s response as he said, “Sure. I’ll give you half of it.” He had no intention of partaking of the nice fruit all by himself. He will share it with his brother who acted selfishly a few minutes ago. Wow! Their  mother then asked him, “Where did you get that?” I told her that it came from me lest she thinks that her son took it from someone else. After that she took the younger son and let him sit on her lap.  He obeyed without an iota of protest.  This enabled the other mother’s companion to sit beside her.  By the way, the moment the mother sat, she fed her baby who was hungry by then, something that she wouldn’t be able to do if she remained standing.  I purposely avoided looking at the boys and the rest of the passengers in front of me and decided to look some place else.  That’s when I noticed that behind me, a young lady passenger had offered her seat to an old woman and maybe, some other passenger showed kindness to someone else inside the train.  I felt good about the whole experience.  I just wish that the younger boy will learn that being selfless has its own rewards, material or otherwise. As for me, I believe, on that day, in that train coach, I know, Christ has been born, and that’s all that matters to me. Amen.

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