While resting in a shaded area outside UP Health Service after my volunteer work there, the seemingly constant sound of the “playing orchestra” of vehicles in the nearby street was disrupted by a voice of a child.”Ate, bili ka po ng panali [sa buhok,” the little boy with a soft voice said asking me to buy one of the panali [he’s selling]. Several other young children have told me that question and me, with children as my weakness, bought one panali from each of those children.Actually, that time I had in my bag all the panali I bought — 4 panalis to be exact. Going back to the child, I talked to him for a while. He’s so cute! Hehe. Well, almost all children are cute, aren’t they? I asked him several questions, good thing he never got bored talking. He told me that he earns 2 pesos for each 10-peso panali he sells. So little. He attends grade school in a nearby public elementary school — Balara Elementary School — and works during summers and if he has time, that is by selling those panalis. Judging from his clothes, I can say he’s from a not so well-off family. His parents probably are laborers. He carried in his back a faded backpack. I wonder how many years he’s been using that bag. Just like what I do whenever I stumble upon kids like him, I bought one. But that time i only have 500 peso bills; no other bill of lower denomination. The little kid did not have enough money for the change, so I asked him to have the paper bill exchanged for lower denominations. And so he ran away.Other people near me might have thought, “should you trust a kid like that, he could have ran away with your money, a P500 is more than what he will earn in a day selling those panalis.” Yet deep inside me, I know, he’s someone to be trusted. I waited for several minutes, still no sign of him. But i never thought that time he really ran away with the money, I was sure he would never do that. I waited and waited. Then, he came. “Wala po kasi ako agad nahanap na pagpapabaryahan,” the tired little boy told me. I just gave him a smile. He gave me a handful of bills and coins. Then for a reason I asked him to count the bills and get his payment from it. He gave me a bundle of panalis. I acted as if I was choosing which color to take but actually,while he was busy with the money, I put all the panalis I bought from other kids in his bundle, so that he could sell those and earn more.Good thing I managed to put all four before he turned to me and gave my change.whew! He almost caught me. Hehe. Then he said good bye and went back to his work. Naglalako na ulit sa ilalim ng mainit na araw. I followed that little boy with my eyes ’til I lost sight of him in the midst of the busy crowd. He might just be a little angel but he thought us a very big lesson, that is doing what’s right and valuing the trust given to you, even by a random stranger [like I was to him].

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