Saturday, May 12, 2012

Great man, Saturnino!

He is Saturnino.  A great man indeed.  A big man with the biggest of hearts.  I do not now much about him, and would have wished to know him much better.  But one generous act has me increasing my faith in people.

Last Wednesday, I flew to General Santos City, enroute to Polomolok, to spend a couple of nights with my parents.  Who would have known that that day would start the way it did?

I took a cab from my house to attend Mass at the Carmelite Monastery in Cebu. It was the best schedule for me since I had to be at the airport by 7:20a.  In the cab as we set off for the church, I needed access to my handerkerchief in my right pocket.  To get to it, I had to take off the belt bag where I had placed my phones and pda (so you probably know where this goes).  So I did, and placed the belt bag further to left of my bag that was on the seat next to me.

When we reached the church, I paid my fare and got off taking my bags with me.  I settled at the last pew, as even then, I was still perspiring and that area seemed coolest.  Then the Mass started.

At the sign of the cross, I suddenly realized that my belt bag was not around my waste.  The perspiration started again.  I was pretty much distracted.  I bent to take my bag off the floor and in my mind was deciding to bolt out of the church (anyway I can attend the afternoon Mass in my "hometown", or not really, since I had a talk to give in Koronadal at 6pm, what to do then?).  

But soon enough I realized that there was not much I can do.  I cannot run after the cab, that was 5 minutes ago when I got off.  Put down my bag, still a bit distracted.  I made a simple request from God, through Our Lady and St. Josemaria, that nothing more "tragic" should happen, and that I will continue attending His Mass as best I can.

After the Opening Prayer (and the First Reading was about to commence), I turned around to check my seat and seeing that there was nothing that will make the experience of listening to the Word of God anything but pleasant, I turned back my head and to sit.  But something caught my eye, someone by the door of the church.  I looked at him and just as quickly, he also saw me, and with an expression of relief on his face (I think I probably had the same look on my face), he pointed at me with his right hand, and in his left hand, now raised as well, my belt bag.

We stepped out.  He was gentleman driver Saturnino.  I did not check the contents of the bag, as I knew everything was there.  I thanked him and he said hat it was his obligation to return things left in his cab.  He was not even certain that he could see me there as he could not remember how I looked.  I told him that I will finish the Mass and if he wanted he can also take me to the airport afterwards (decided that I will give him a hefty tip).  But he had to go as he was taking the cab to the garage yet.

Surely there was something else I could do to reward him for that so unselfish act, but he said simply, "I-praise lang ko nimo sa Gino-o, sir".  

How do you really translate that?  

I praised the Lord for Saturnino, and for the many unsung heroes.  I praised Saturnino to God for allowing grace to fill his heart with generosity.  I praised God with Saturnino, even as he had to go his merry way, to fill this world with his kindness in the best way he could.

Back in Cebu now, I can only just now write about it.  Nevertheless, the joy that accompanied me on my visit with my parents and to my hometown, was only a fruit of the joy that Saturnino shared with me.

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