So Christmas in Metro Manila went well, the highways and byways, not to mention the shopping centers and business districts, turning into ghost towns, deserted and empty of cars, people and mayhem. I was thankful as I was delivering gifts to friends and colleagues last minute on Sunday afternoon. I was also glad that Metro Manila had been spared of the chaos that befell our brethren in Mindanao, and as I write this, we have friends and colleagues currently helping in relief operations down south.
Reflecting on all these things while enjoying a leisurely drive, I came to realize that on Christmas Day, there were also unsung heroes around me. These are the people who worked overtime to keep our lives as normal as possible on such an important holiday and a time for rest for most of us. I’d like to use this space to thank these people, often unappreciated, who serve at our pleasure, keeping things convenient, hassle-free and orderly.
As I approached Cubao from EDSA northbound, the Araneta Center area was traffic-clogged, itself being the only crazy place this weekend as ro-ro buses going to the various southern provinces and last-minute shoppers to the wet market flocked to Cubao to quickly get home or finish last-minute shopping. I saw a good number of MMDA traffic enforcers working hard to maintain some semblance of order, shepherding PUVs and private cars alike to their proper lanes, urging drivers to pack closely to free up the other lanes and keep traffic moving as quickly as possible. On the 24th in the afternoon. They are of course doing what they should be doing, directing traffic. Normally they earn our scorn for sometimes doing weird, illogical, irrational things but this particular weekend, I was glad they were at work, and I salute them for really making an effort to keep the traffic orderly. Coming into affluent Greenhills, the San Juan Police was in full force, patrolling the streets and later that evening set up checkpoints to keep things in order.
On the 25th, I went over to buy some stuff for the party at home, and I was surprised to find convenience stores open, with the sales clerks celebrating Christmas Day with their families inside the store. Modern life has placed convenience at the forefront of everything that we do. Most of our cars are automatic, equipped with GPS/SATNAV to help us find our destinations, and packed with other features that keep things easy for us. In the same way, convenience stores have popped up in every corner to make buying basic necessities equally convenient. Imagine the day we run to our local convenience store only to finds it closed? A nightmare if you ask me. Hence I salute these people who found a way, albeit unconventional and probably quite difficult, to spend Christmas with their families and still be at work to provide us with good service, the laughter of their children in the background and keeping them smiling at work when we all know they would rather be at home, resting or just celebrating with their loved ones.
And right before I got home to write this column, I noticed I had to gas up so as to avoid rushing for work the next day. But I was half-expecting the gas stations to be closed especially as it was close to midnight, coming from another dinner with friends. Quite surprisingly, the major gas stations were all open, and while it took a while for an attendant to pump fuel into my truck, hey, he was there with what to me looked like two girlfriends spending time with him. We all know fuel powers the economy, and without it, we’re all motionless, stuck in time, unable to live freely.
There are more people out there who stayed at work to keep our lives running normally on one of the biggest holidays. We should be thankful to them as they allow us to live our life the way we’ve come to expect it, the way we want it. Thank you to all the MMDA traffic enforcers, all the police and other civil servants who were working this Christmas weekend, all the gas boys who were pumping fuel into cars that were taking their passengers to their destinations, most likely loved ones, and to the convenience store workers who made sure we had food and drinks to buy for our parties. It’s a tough, thankless job, but thank God you’re doing it.
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