MANILA, Philippines — The COVID-19 pandemic has forced busy cities to a near-halt as millions of people across the globe stay indoors. But the pockets of kindness that still popped up in every corner brought some hope and glow to a rather gloomy atmosphere the world is in today.
Such was the case for 34-year-old Marianne Ercillo.
One Wednesday afternoon, she traveled from Bacoor City in Cavite province to Las Piñas City to buy some groceries. Luzon was on its third week of an enhanced community quarantine imposed by the national government in a bid to contain the transmission of the highly contagious respiratory illness caused by the novel coronavirus or SARS-CoV-2.
Standing in line for check out at the supermarket, Ercillo noticed a man in a white shirt in front of her. In the adjacent line on the next cashier counter, she noticed a man in a dark green shirt – his pushcart contained two packs of diapers, a box powdered milk, and some canned goods.
“Nakita ko po si, Sir, sa harap ko na naka-white, lumapit po siya kay Sir na naka-green. Mabilis na mabilis lang na nangyari. Nahagip ng paningin ko, inabutan niya si Sir na naka-green ng blue na bills,” Ercillo told INQUIRER.net in phone interview.
(I saw, Sir, the man wearing the white shirt, who was in front of me, approached the man wearing the dark green shirt. It was fast but I saw that the man wearing the white shirt handed some blue-colored bills to the man wearing the dark green shirt.)
Ercillo was certain it was money. She was just unsure how much. She said the man who received the cash was visibly startled.
“Si Sir na naka-white, parang ayaw niyang makita, ayaw niyang may makakita kasi super discreet, super bilis. Binilisan niya rin po bumalik siya sa line,” Ercillo said.
(The man wearing the white shirt seemed like he did not want anyone to see his deed because it was really discreet and really fast. He immediately returned to his line.)
Almost immediately, she said the man wearing the dark green shirt left the line and returned with two more boxes of powdered milk.
“Tumingin siya (man wearing the green shirt) sa direksiyon ni Sir na naka-white. Sabi niya, ‘Maraming salamat po, pandagdag gatas po ni baby’,” Ercillo said.
(The man wearing the green shirt looked at the direction of the man wearing the white shirt. He said, ‘Thanks a lot, this means more milk for my baby’.)
She said the man wearing the white shirt simply responded with a nod.
“Hindi na po sila nagka-interact after nun (They were not able to have more interaction after that),” she added.
Ercillo then remembered that what she saw inside the supermarket was no the only act of kindness she witnessed that day.
She shared that on her way to the grocery, the driver of the vehicle in front of her also gave bread and soda to the military personnel manning a checkpoint.
“Nakaka-humble. Kahit ako sa sarili ko parang, ‘Sana ako rin nagbigay, kung may extra (money) lang din po ako, sana kahit pang take-out man lang ni Sir’,” Ercillo said.
(It was humbling. Even to myself, I said, ‘I hope I could also give if only I have extra cash. Even if that’s just for a simple take-out for the man wearing the dark green shirt.)
But, Ercillo is a “hero” in her own right, too. She works as an operating room nurse in a hospital in Bacoor City.
Currently, she is on home quarantine. But she said she will report back to work as soon as her quarantine is over.
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