Monday, November 1, 2010

Goodness and Evil have the Same Face

I remember Paolo Coelho saying in the Devil and Ms. Prym: “Good and evil have the same face.”

Tonight, on my way home, I saw goodness and evil wearing the same face.

Saturdays are supposed to be rest day for traditional employees. Nevertheless, I chose to go to work to clear my backlogs for the week, and to help our team beat the November 6 deadline for our first batch of articles. I finished our daily quota of eight write-ups at past 9 pm (the line “Life is a journey” lengthened my worktime because it could be found in other websites, however way I rephrase it). Eating a slice or two of Yellow Cab pizza, I chose to walk to Pasong Tamo for a short exercise before hitching a ride home.

Upon riding a jeepney in front of the Exportbank Plaza, I got a bill from my wallet and gave it to the driver. The driver gave me 13-peso penny change; I placed it in my purse. My mind was wandering off while looking at the surroundings. Suddenly, the driver handed me four folded twenty-peso bills, saying, “100 pala to.” Remembering the purple-colored bill that I got from my wallet, I answered, “Ay, oo nga pala. Salamat!” I smiled at the driver, acknowledging his honesty for my fair’s change.

Nonetheless, I saw a weird impression on his face. Ironically, it was very subtle yet very noticeable to me.

It was as if he was regretting that he had given back the right amount of change to me. There was hesitation in the way he handed the four twenty-peso bills. It dawned on me that my 100-peso payment could have given him 14 passengers in one seating. Unreturned excess of fairs give drivers undue advantage over passengers.

It was where I saw goodness and evil having the same face – in the guise of an honest jeepney driver who had somehow regretted being honest in his dealing. In all fairness, though, he had been good enough to give back what is not his.

(Written on a Saturday, October 30)