Kindness and Sacrifice From A Stranger Made Me Who I Am Today
A story of selfless trust and support
The Birth of A Dream
I came from a family who lives below the poverty line in the Philippines. My parents strived to give us an education as it can be our ticket to escape the miserable life we are in.
I loved being in school. It was one nice place for me - painted, clean, and adorned with plenty of plants. As a little girl, I began to idolize my teachers whom I saw every day with their lipsticks and high heels. Those things, I haven’t seen in my mom who can't even comb her hair due to the daily manual labor of being a street vendor.
Seeing my beautiful teachers every day sparked my dream of becoming like them. I told myself that one day, I'll be a well-dressed and well-versed teacher ready to inspire anyone.
On To Making The Dream Come True
I got a scholarship from the University of the Philippines. It took me only 3.5 years to finish my degree with a major in Biology. I had full hopes that I'll be a college instructor after graduation.
I thought I just have to graduate to get my dream. That was what my parents and my university told me. They were wrong. To finish a degree doesn't even equate to a battle that is half won.
No one told me that I may have survived school life which is hard but I may not win the life outside which is harsh. I wasn't prepared. I was a young graduate armed full of hope and confidence only to totally be crushed.
I Thought I Got My Dream But It Was A False Alarm
No matter how good I am, educational institutions in my province rejected me. I didn't know that there's this unwritten rule in job hunting:
"It’s not what you know, but who you know."
Coming from a poor family, I have no connections leaving me no chances at all.
I Wanted To Stop But I Simply Can't
The disappointments happened too soon. As I'm writing this, my present self wanted to embrace my young life-battered self. I keep telling this story to move on with the past hurts but as of now, tears still flow from my eyes.
The hurts were so painful that it macerated my entire being up to my barest soul. I cried blood. I was lost and nowhere to go. But seeing my family who looks upon me as their first chance to escape poverty made me hold on.
I decided to move on, left our uncaring province, and seek comfort in another city's big wings.
The City Life
I decided to create my own teaching job. I became a private tutor. The job paid me good rates per hour. But self-pity kept coming in. I compared myself to my college friends who were sitting in their offices while I commute from one house to another to tutor my students.
What happened to me who has always been good in class? Does my degree from the no. 1 university in the Philippines hold no value at all?
I didn't know all the answers but I knew I kept showing up and teaching my tutees every day.
One Day, The Good Deed Came My Way
It was an ordinary day of tutoring my favorite student. I have been tutoring the child for two years. She was in the 6th grade by then. Her dad asked me to apply to their organization. Let's call him "Sir".
I told "Sir" that having an 8-5 job would leave me no time to tutor her daughter. Her daughter's tutorial schedule is 8-10 AM daily as she has an afternoon school schedule. Sir simply said, "we will make adjustments". And that's it.
I submitted my application, went to the organization's examination and interview process. Not long, I was accepted into a decent permanent position. I became a permanent employee on my very first day.
After the Good Deed, They Made A Sacrifice For Me
The dilemma of tutoring Sir's daughter with my new day job schedule became apparent. Do you know what he did? He moved her daughter's tutorial schedule to 6:30 - 8:30 AM so I can teach her child before I go to my office for my 9:00 AM schedule.
It was a simple shift of 9:00 - 6:00 office schedule for me but it was a sacrifice on the sleeping hours of their daughter. My poor favorite tutee. She should have been sleeping but has to get up real early to meet me for a 6:30 AM tutorial.
He endorsed me for a permanent job and still pays me for tutorial services. Then he went further to adjust their schedule to accommodate very early tutoring just because I have to go to work.
Who was I to deserve all of it?
I don't know. Until now, I still don't have the answers. One thing is for sure, Sir and his family have good hearts. They were not my relatives. They are paying me well for my tutoring services. It should have been enough. But they went beyond.
The Job Was My One Big Break
Finally, life sent someone to rescue my already dying aspirations. During that time, I was tired of fighting. I was lost and weak. But that one big break propelled a burst upwards. In a span of 10 years from day 1 on that job, I transformed from "no one" to "someone"
Though not a teaching position like what I dreamed of, the job has trained me to my maximum potential and gave me a lot of opportunities. My superiors have encouraged me to go back to school and now I'm a lawyer.
I may have failed to become a teacher "per se" but I now train people not only from the Philippines but also in other countries.
One Good Deed From A Stranger Was The Key To Who Am I Today
I smile whenever I see this Jack Ma Quote:
Jack Ma on Sales: "When doing Sales, the first people who will trust you will be Strangers. Friends will be shielding against you, fair-weather friends will distance from you. Family will look down upon you."
The day you finally succeed, paying the bill for every get-together dinner, entertainment, you will realize: Everyone else is present except the Strangers.
It's ironic how the help that changed my life came from a stranger. Way back, my immediate family was helpless. My other blessed relatives looked down on me as a failure. But my faith in life and humanity was restored because of Sir and his family.
I woke up one day not recognizing who I once was. I became more than the person I wanted to be. Family, career, health - I have it all. I didn't only help my family but I was able to help more people. And I promise to continue helping as much as I could.
Sir, thanks for the seeds of good deeds. It has multiplied and it has grown.