This illustration is inspired by a true story from the Philippines.
"The Jeepney Ride Home" by Mai Tatoy
When I was 18, I was held-up at gunpoint.
I was commuting home from school on a jeepney that December evening in Manila. Three armed men came onboard and ordered us to give them our wallets and valuables. So we did. They hopped out then told the jeepney driver to keep driving. The driver was kind enough to drop us off where we could walk home.
The minute I got home, I burst into tears. My Ma and Pa held and consoled me. Things could’ve been worse, they said. That’s true, I replied. I guess it was the trauma of it. Plus, I had not eaten all day that day because I wanted to save money to buy Christmas gifts for our family. We weren’t poor by any measure, but money was always tight.
The next day, I commuted to school again. That night, at the corner where I take the jeepney home, I saw my Pa standing there, waiting for me. He knew I’d become frightened of riding the jeepney at night, so he accompanied me on the ride.
He did this for the next four months.
From December to March, my Pa met me at that corner and rode the jeepney with me when my schedule meant I’d be commuting at night. My Pa who doesn’t drive and couldn’t afford to do anything else to protect his daughter from robbers except sit beside her on the ride home.
He taught me that love is doing what you can with what you have for those you love.
He remains the most thoughtful, generous person I know. It is the greatest honour of my life to be the daughter of Rey Brodit Tatoy.