A heart-melting story to read, life lessons to learn and about creativity…
Simon got up from the couch and put down the newspaper he was reading after hearing the doorbell rang. He was surprised to see that it was Jorge, a young boy who regularly collect stuffs that most people normally consider as trash. “Good morning, boss,” Jorge said with right hand quickly saluting him. “Do you have more old newspapers, carton boxes, empty bottles, and other recyclable stuffs for me?” “ Yes, I have but not that much. Remember, you just collected a bulk last week. I told you to come here every month, why you’re so early?” he asked motioning Jorge to come inside his living room and be seated. The boy sat down, scratching his head and said “Sorry, boss, I stinks. I just came from the other street. And I’m sorry for coming early to collect from you, I was prohibited to collect trash from the other side.” He noticed Jorge’s swelling lips and purple cheek. “ What happened?” he asked pointing to the young boy’s face. The young boy shook his head, Simon’s eyes caught the tears the young boy tried to hide. “The big boys didn’t want me to collect from the other streets where I used to get my stuffs because they demanded money from me. I refused, I need it for my food so they beat me and threaten they will hurt me more if I come back and don’t give them their share.” “Who? The boys who used to bully you?” he asked. Jorge nodded. He felt deep sympathy and pity to the twelve-year-old boy, he felt something like a pinch in his heart.
Jorge reminds Simon of his son Xavier, his beloved only son. His wife died of giving birth to him. After twelve years, he lost him too due to leukemia. Thank God, his faith was so strong he didn’t give up though he has to live all by himself since his son died. He just made himself busy with his medical profession, he is a pediatrician and owns the biggest private clinic in their place.
Simon couldn’t forget the first time he met Jorge. He was driving his car when he noticed a commotion in the street. Four big, young boys was making fun of a little boy by pushing his cart and throwing all the scrap collections he got from the whole day of hard work. Simon was touched and he asked the help of a policeman to assist him and so they intervened. The young boys ran leaving Jorge trying to put his collections back to his wooden cart. Simon helped him. “ Why do you have to work, you should be in the school.” “Boss, if I go to school, how can I work? If I don’t work, how can I live?”
“ Why? Where are your parents? They should work to send you to school.”
He couldn’t forget the pain in the boy’s eyes when he answered his question. “ They died of accident with my older brother, boss. Just last year, on my birthday. They were from the mall to give me a surprise birthday gift. I just knew it when the police handed me the gift that they bought for me, with their dedications written on it filled with love” The little boy’s voice began to crack. “Since then, I have to work to survive, I have to live in the midst of uncertainties and dangers in this city.” “Oh I’m so sorry to hear that. But how about your relatives? They should take care of you. You’re too young to live by yourself. It’s not safe for you. Look at those boys, they love to bully you.” “I have no relatives here in Manila, boss. I didn’t know anyone of them. My parents were from Mindanao, they said they left the place and came here in Manila because both of their parents strictly disagreed with their marriage. They didn’t hear from them since then.” “By the way, do you really make money by collecting trash?”Simon changed the topic. “Just good enough to make me survive, boss. I sell these to a junk shop. Some of these, I set aside for my own handmade crafts that I also sell for additional income.” “Oh I see. It’s good you’re not thinking of earning money the faster way like others do. You know what I mean, like those pick-pocketers, etc.” Jorge shook his head “ I won’t go for that, boss, never. I’d rather work hard to live in honest way. My parents taught me not to value money more than honesty and integrity. I want to live with their legacy.” What a principle, Simon thought. He couldn’t help but admire this little boy’s character. “Okay, I’m a doctor and I own the private clinic at the end of this street. You can collect boxes, bottles, old newspapers from there. I’ll keep those for you, for free.”
“Thank you very much, doctor but I prefer to call you boss. From now on, you are my boss. My name is Jorge.” the little boy stretched out his right hand towards him for a shake. He laughed and shook Jorge’s small hand. “ Where do you live, Jorge? I’ll escort you home. Those bad boys might just be looking for a chance to take advantage of you.”
Jorge live in a dark, small room connected to a house he said his parents’ owned. When his family died, a family from the neighborhood took charge of their house. They just made a partition and provided a very small space for him. He said they demanded him to pay a monthly rent of 500.00 pesos. “What? This house belongs to you. It’s yours, you should not live miserably in this very small and dark space. And much more you need not pay them rent!” Simon was so affected he became emotional he didn’t notice his voice was loud. “Ssssh! Please don’t speak loud, boss, they might hear you.” whispered Jorge. “Yes, this is our very own house but they claimed that my parents’ owed them money. That’s a lie, boss. My parents lived a simple, frugal life and they hated debt. They taught us to learn to live within our means.” “How does this family treat you, are they treating you nice?” Instead of replying, Jorge opened a big box in the corner. The box seemed full of trash but Jorge took out the scraps on the top and showed him what’s inside. He looked inside and was amazed. Beautiful handicrafts were at the bottom of the box. “You made all these? These are great works it doesn’t look like these were made out of scraps. Why do you hide these nice stuffs?” “I’m afraid they might find my artcrafts. I deprived myself of enough sleep to do these items, these are good extra income for me when sold. I hide them the best way I can because if they found these they’re gonna sell my works and keep the money for themselves. They’ve already done that before, boss.” Simon’s heart was pierced. He felt like he wanted to adopt the child but ignored his conviction.
Let’s pause the story for a while and let’s talk about Simon who ignored what his conscience was telling him. We maybe like Simon. We may have encountered a Jorge in our life everyday but not paying attention to them, for we don’t really care. They need help. In this world, thousands of children suffer from maltreatment, bullying, exploitation and other forms of abuses. In the same way that many people who are capable to help just close their eyes, not extending a helping hand to the deprived ones.
The Bible says in…
Proverbs 3:27 “ Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to act.”
Proverbs 19:17 “Whoever is kind to the poor lends to the LORD, and he will reward them for what they have done.”
Will Simon help Jorge from his present predicament? On my next blog I will show you some of Jorge’s handcrafted works as well as some instructional photos on how he did it. I hope you’ve got something from the first part of this story so see you next time.