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The sky is clear and bright today, thought Stephanie when she stepped out of her house, fully dressed for work with her usual tote bag held on her left hand, and a pair of sunglasses on the right. Her father welcomed himself to the house porch, where a newspaper was waiting for him, as she quickly slid on some socks and her favorite pair of heels.
“Steph, bring an umbrella, the forecast says there is a 90% chance of rain today,” he said aloud.
“Huh? But I see no clouds,” she replied, squinting at the sun to observe the clear morning sky, which seemed as if it was painted with arrays of soft, bright shades of Blue.
“Take your coat as well, I hung it by the door. Sounds like it’ll be quite chilly later in the evening,” he added, “I don’t want you to freeze.”
“Well, scientifically speaking, ‘di yun posible, Dad. Love you, I’ll see you later!”
Steph took a step towards the umbrella stand to grab the smallest umbrella sitting inside it and reached for her coat that was hanging behind the door, before heading out the gate and walking towards the LRT Station. She left her house just in time to catch the 9:30AM train en route to Grace Park West.
It was just another typical work day for Steph. She had always enjoyed her job as a sales clerk. Her extraverted and lively nature would always encourage her to make sure that every customer leaves the store with a smile. Making people feel comfortable and content was her expertise, and she was happy to be able to work a job that allows her to lighten people’s mood and make their days at least slightly better.
The store clock struck 6, marking the end of Steph’s shift, and so she quickly headed to the storage room to pick up her things, with the hopes that the rain would not come until she had safely made it home.
Unfortunately, she lost the race against time. It had begun to drizzle just as she stepped out into the open, and she knew it would not be long until it would begin to pour. To combat the heavy rain and the cutting wind, she pulled out her umbrella and put on her coat, ensuring that for the meantime, they could provide enough shelter until she makes it to the train station.
She could see people running around, carrying items to cover their heads, and also others waiting in front of stores with their eyes and nimble fingers glued to their phones, possibly to call for help.
Her compassion and love for people halted her from leaving the premises to let her carefully observe the chaos that was unfolding around her. She felt the urge to do something about the situation.
The first idea that came to her mind was a little complicated. She thought maybe she could approach those who seemed like they had nowhere to go and tell them that they could share her umbrella, and she would accompany and take as many people as she could to their destinations. She brushed off the idea as soon as she looked up to realize how small the umbrella she had with her was.
The second idea was to run to the nearest convenience store and purchase some umbrellas so she could give them out to the people who needed them most. However, the nearest convenience store was at least 3 kilometres away, and she would rather not have to walk 4,500 steps in her heels on wet pavement.
She pulled out her smartphone, her eyes immediately darted to an app she had placed on the bottom, right-hand side of her screen, and her eyes lit up. It was MyKuya. She found the answer.
This is exactly what I was looking for! I can use MyKuya to book a rider, who can buy some umbrellas and bring them to me.
Without much thought, she entered the app and tapped on the PaBili icon. In less than a minute, her booking was confirmed and she was greeted by Kuya Carl through the chat feature that was provided within the app.
Kuya Carl: Good evening, what can I do for you today?
Stephanie: Hi! As you probably know, it is raining very heavily right now. A lot of people are stranded, do you think you can help me get maybe 10 umbrellas?
Kuya Carl: Sure thing! I know a store near my location right now that may have some. I’ll be there in a bit.
Stephanie: That’s good to hear. I’ll be waiting :)
15 minutes had elapsed and that was when Steph finally received a message from her assigned Partner, confirming his arrival.
Kuya Carl: Ma’am, I have arrived at your location, can you tell me where you are?
Steph pivoted a slow, 360 degree turn to look around for Kuya Carl, who she figured she would be able to identify by the MyKuya signature, blue uniform she assumed he would be wearing. She stopped when she saw just exactly that. Kuya Carl had parked his bike under a small shelter by the corner of the street she was standing around on.
He, too, was soaked. His helmet was the only waterproof piece of clothing protecting him from the extremely gloomy weather. She quickly approached him and greeted him with a Hello.
“Hi, Ma’am. I have what you asked for,” he told her while lifting his arms to present to her a plastic bag. Steph lifted the bag and took a quick glimpse of its contents.
“This is perfect. Thank you so much! You came much faster than I thought you would.”
She let the bag slide to the corner of her elbows so she could take out her wallet and pay Kuya Carl the amount he was owed. She handed the payment in cash, and also one umbrella to show her thanks.
“Here, take these with you. Be careful when you get back on the road,” she added.
“Ma’am, thank you so much! Get home safely, too, and have a good evening!” Kuya Carl said with gratitude before leaving to take on another delivery job.
Alright, here goes nothing. Steph scanned the area for lost or worried faces. She approached a child who she assumed to be a middle-schooler taking shelter at a hotel lobby. She handed the first umbrella to him, and he was incredibly grateful for the generous gift.
She handed out two more to a mother who have been grocery shopping with her daughter, initially unaware of what was to come in their journey. They both repeatedly thanked her before continuing on with their travels.
A few tens of meters from there, Steph could spot an elderly lady holding her dog by the leash, unsure of how she could escape the storm as she took shelter under a tree. Without any hesitation, Steph made her way to her and handed out the next umbrella.
The sixth umbrella went to a young woman whose phone had just shut down, hence she could not call a friend or family member, nor book an Uber to pick her up. She was in deep frustration, which settled down after Steph offered her the next umbrella. She looked at Steph in disbelief and stared as if she was an angel sent from heaven. She expressed her thanks and left to catch the next bus home.
She gave the next one to a male teenager who was in a hurry. He was running past an open space with only a giant textbook over his head. She chased after him to give him an umbrella, before approaching two confused and tired students she could spot from there, standing about 5 meters apart from each other.
One of them had caught a cold because he did not have a jacket to keep him warm. Steph gave him the last umbrella, as well as her coat, knowing that it may lead her to shiver all throughout her way home. Oh well, he probably needs it more than I do.
She tossed the finally-empty bag into the recycling bin and began her journey home. Throughout her walk to the station, the wind persisted on blowing from north to south, and east to west. She let out a sigh of relief when she stepped onto her train and found herself a seat.
It was almost 8:30PM when she arrived. It was still pouring. Her dad had been waiting for her at the exact lounge chair he chose to sit on that same morning.
“See, sabi ko sayo di’ba?” he said with a chuckle, “Let’s go inside! You came at the perfect time. Kain na tayo!!”
“Sige, gutom na gutom na’ko,” Steph replied. She laid down her wet umbrella and immediately stepped into the comforts of her home. She was happy to finally be inside, not only because the house itself was cosy, but also because the presence of her family made her feel safe and relieved.
She was grateful for Kuya Carl and his bravery, which allowed him to zip through the all-too-common traffic jams of Metro Manila in the bad weather and help her help ten people who were stranded head back home.
She smiled at the thought that on that day, together, they allowed these ten people to feel the warmth that rushed in when she saw her dad waiting for her outside, again when she smelled her grandma’s cooking from the foyer — the warmth you can only feel when you arrive home from a long day of work.