On Rough Days, Kind Hearts, and Paying It Forward

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Rough Day
While it is true that, in this cancer journey, we have good days and tough days, today happened to be one of those really rough ones. What started out as very routine and (too good to be true) on-schedule blood tests, doctor’s consultation, and chemotherapy ended with a blood transfusion and a hospital admission.

When the blood tests came back, it was found that Ri’s hemoglobin, WBC, and platelets were pretty low. Naturally, the doctor requested for a transfusion.

Two bags of blood (one liter) later, my Hodgegirl developed a fever and needed to stay the night. As one of the residents explained, she either a) caught something in the air and her low white blood count couldn’t fight it or b) this is a reaction to or infection from the blood. Whatever it is is not good news. To make matters worse, we were unprepared to spend the night in the hospital.

A Kind Heart
So, while part of me worried about our lack of toiletries for the night, I decided to go to the cafe downstairs to grab a bite.

While lining up, I realized that the man behind me is a Filipino who works at the hospital. I grabbed this opportunity to ask him about the nearest place for me to buy toiletries. Next thing I knew? We both paid for our food and he drove me to the nearest grocery store so I could get my stuff. And this he decided without blinking an eye and while he was still on work duty.

This man, who didn’t know anything about me except for the fact that I was a Cebuana in Houston, went out of his way to be helpful and kind to me. Giving me info would’ve been more than enough.

His reason? Twenty years ago, he, too, was once a stranger in Houston but some people exerted effort to make him feel like he belonged. According to him, he is simply paying it forward.

Paying It Forward
From a young age, we are taught to be wary and to keep away from strangers…and with valid reasons to do so. However, this man broke that norm tonight. And although I thanked him profusely, I’m not sure if he’ll ever realize how much his gesture meant to me, a stranger with no one to turn to at that place and moment.

I hope that, one day, I can pay this man’s kindness forward too and be a real blessing to another stranger.

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