June 9, 2010

An Unsung Hero Plying the Streets of Baguio

You see them, especially at night making their rounds on the streets of Baguio. You see them in front of Baguio Country Sounds along Magsaysay Avenue eagerly eyeing the people streaming out of the bar. You met them at the overpasses. They are most abundant at Burnham Park.

The two concrete stages facing each other on the edges of the Melvin football grounds serve as their ‘tambayan’. Go there at ten or eleven in the evening and chances are you will find three or four of them engaged in conversation.

They are the coffee vendors of Baguio City. The ones with the plastic baskets containing thermos bottles and Styrofoam cups. You are not a true Baguio boy or girl if you tell me you have never taken a sip from a hot coffee cup served by one of them.

Anyway, I am writing about them today because yesterday one of them did something that once again proves the fact that there are heroes around us, ordinary people stepping out of their usual zones to give comfort to those needing of comfort.

Yesterday, I have seen a hero. I have seen him act like a hero. And he is nothing more but a coffee vendor. I was walking up Session Road yesterday and in front of me was a young man, probably 11 or 12 years of age. He was wearing a blue oversized jacket and a fake Levi’s baseball cap. Slung on his thin shoulders is a plastic basket containing the tools of his trade: thermos bottles, styrofoam cups and little containers probably of sugar.

We were in front of the Andok’s Litson Restaurant when he sort of turned his head and glanced behind him. He stopped, walked back a little and brought down his basket on the side. I was taken by curiosity so I too stopped, stood at the edge of the sidewalk and watched him. He started preparing coffee but I do not remember anyone ordering coffee from him. I was thinking maybe he’s just preparing coffee for himself. But that thought was blown away when I saw him prepare another cup. No way he’s drinking both cups.

After he was done preparing the cups he picked them up and held one on each hand. He then walked a few steps and carefully handed them to two blind beggars squatting on the sidewalk. I was moved by the child’s gesture but still I had doubts. What if he will ask for a charge. He knew there are enough coins on the beggars’ cans. But he didn’t. He simply handed them the coffee, mumbled something I wasn’t able to hear, slung back his basket upon his shoulder and continued walking up Session Road.

Now, that is a hero. And he’s just a kid.
So if you ever come across this kid (he’s got a big mole right under his left eye), order a cup or two of his coffee. He deserves it.

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