I was about to park the car inside the garage when I chanced upon the taho vendor by our gate. I rolled down the window and told him I’ll buy taho from him. He smiled from a distance and helped close the gate as I drove in.
He asked why I woke up so early. “Ma’am, ba’t ang aga ninyo gumising?” It was 6:15AM and I had already gotten home. “Naghatid lang ng bata, kuya”, I said. “Sa Quezon City pa po kasi eh.”
I was searching for the biggest cup in the string of plastics tied around his arnibal carrier, but he advised me to get my own mug instead so I could choose which serving size I wanted. “Maliit itong mga baso ko kasi, ma’am.” Our house helper handed me two large mugs for the servings of taho. One for me and one for whoever else wanted. As he filled the cups, kuya carefully wiped the sides to free it from any sugar stains, and we talked some more about his product and daily routine.
He handed me the hot mugs of taho and I reached out for two twenty-peso bills inside my purse. One accidentally fell to the ground, but he immediately picked it up and said “Salamat, ma’am. Okay na ito.”
“Ha? Hindi ba twenty pesos ang isa, kuya?” I said. A large serving of taho usually costs around twenty five to thirty pesos now. The mugs I gave should have cost me P20 each, at the very least. “Ma’am, tama na to.” he said. This is enough.
I kept on handing him the other twenty peso bill. “Hindi po, kuya, twenty pesos ho isa nito. Malaki yung baso eh.” He was just smiling at me while politely declining the money I was handing over. At this point, I noticed that he is almost blind in one eye. His left eye is clouded with a sheet of mucus-like substance and he was obviously having a hard time seeing through it.
I let it go. “Salamat po, kuya. Ingat po kayo.” He stooped to the ground and loaded the wooden taho carrier on his back. As he walked away, I heard the classic morning call once more. “Tahoooo!”, he shouted.
The morning breeze was a bit chilly, and the taho was just perfect. After a stressful morning with inconsiderate bus drivers and blazing trucks, life surprises me with a lesson on humility. This is enough. What I have is more than enough.
Today, my angel came in the form of a middle-aged man who was wearing a grey cap, a khaki tattered shirt, maong shorts, and rubber slippers.