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Thursday, June 11, 2009

"The one lesson I learned that's worth a lifetime..."

I'd like to share with you guys, what I encountered this morning on my way to the university. This story holds a somewhat profound feeling to me; being more of a realization than an epiphany.

This morning was another cold morning for Bundoora. It's 5 degrees on the scale, but nevertheless no signs of the usual rain. A good day for a walk, I presume. Alas, as I made my way out of the apartment - a huge gust of wind came and swept my courage away. "The tram then", I decided, whilst fixing my scarf. I thought I'd give it a few meters walk; a station away from my usual tram stop so at least I got my metabolism running for the day.

As I journeyed towards Officeworks my eyes caught gaze of a woman, in her mid 40s at the roadside pavement across the tram stop - gently approaching every passerby that came her way. I suddenly felt the urge to find out why so I changed my course and made way towards her. As she did the others, she greeted me a nice good morning as I came into talking distance. It was then I realized she had a girl with her, awaiting underneath the warmth of Officeworks's roof.

"Good morning, dear. Can I ask you a favor?" she said.

I replied, "Yes, sure."

"May I ask where you're headed for?"

"To my office in La Trobe, why?"

"Oh, could you kindly spare me 2 dollars. It's for the tram. I haven't got change."

I was somewhat aghast at her request. Stopping all those people (in the coldest of days) just for the sake of a few dollars, and none kind enough to spare her some pity? Out of curiousity, I asked again where she was headed.

"Where are you going to ma'am?"

"Off to Northland, but we need to stop at Summerhill to get some breakfast. I'm with my daughter (as she pointed to the girl in Officeworks)."

It's appaling how we humans are, sometimes. It is very suprising how much motivation desperation can be, and I am touched by this woman's humble wish. I know for a fact a tram ticket costs more than what she's asking for, but somewhat felt that regardless of her intentions - I am compelled to do something about it. My hands reached into my pocket, almost an instant automatic reaction from her last statement.

"Here you go ma'am. I can only spare you 3 dollars but I wish you and your daughter well."

"Oh, bless you child. Thank you very much, thank you very much."

She offered me a 5 dollar note to make up for the 2 dollar coin, to which I kindly said no to. For me, what she's giving me has more value than that I'm giving away. That uncanny feeling of humanity, and humility.

As she called for her daughter (of whom was Lily, if my memory serves me right), I bid her farewell and wished her a nice day ahead. We parted ways; she and her daughter towards the tram stop and me stead ahead on my usual walking path.

In the end, I may have opted for the tram but a higher power wanted me to walk this morning, so I thought.

I watched the next tram pass me by; and caught a glimpse of Lily and her mother waving towards me from inside, with a smile that could melt any heart. I waved back; with my heart smiling, for the next 25 minutes - all the way to my desk here in La Trobe.

It's amazing that such a small gesture can give you the greatest of satisfactions. In times where Melbourne is shrouded by claims of racist attacks, targeted intimidation and being called a racist state, the common reactions that followed were hate, remorse, rage and violence. We often forget - that in times when people condemn us for, are actually times when we should give more clemency and goodness to. At least that's what our Prophet S.A.W did in his time, and today Muslims all over the world are blessed with the religion of Islam. In dire times such as these, random acts of kindness and good old decency goes a long way through. I am reminded of that today, in the simplest of ways possible.

This morning walk might be in the coldest of mornings, but the journey felt the warmest ever in my days here.

-JeP

5 comments:

Andi said...

Good one bro!

Anonymous said...

Assalamualaikum,

You have always been a sucker for doing good deeds...an honourable attribute, no doubt, but be wary of bogus n deceipts.

I would have done the same thing you did though...and may have even dished out more than AUD3.

I hope you get to enjoy your first snow soon (actually you already did 24 years ago..in USA)...but take care n bundle up good.

Wish you are here with us for PCik's event tomorrow..

Missing you lots...mama

Anonymous said...

one of d best entries so far,bro!

MIE said...

may...u r good...ur writing also good. wish I could as excellent as you.

JeP said...

thanks guys, I appreciate all your supportive feedbacks. as a matter of fact, the blog thrives on them! :)