I was a cigarette vendor (like the one in the picture) for almost 8 years (from grade 4 to first year in college) in a cockpit arena. That experience taught me humility in life and in business. How?
My greatest fear back then, especially in high school, was to be seen by a campus-mate selling cigarettes on one hand and softdrinks on the other. I was bullied in elementary. I never wanted to be bullied again in high school.
But events did not cooperate with my wish. Marami pala sa mga tatay ng mga ka-schoolmate ko ang sabungero. Sometimes, they brought their kids in the cockpit arena (yes, they exposed their kids to gambling at such an early age). When their kids saw me, I could paint the message they were thinking from the looks of their faces as though they were saying, “Oh, itong laging laman ng stage, regular contributor sa campus magazine, at nasa top section, takatak boy lang pala. Tingnan mo nga naman.” I could see the smirk on their face while they looked at me mula sa patay kong kuko na palaging nauuntog sa mga kanto sa sabungan hanggang sa ulo kong amoy usok ng sigarilyo gawa ng buga ng mga sabungero.
True enough, every time they saw me in school, they did name-calling on me. Instead of calling me by name, they called me “Garilyo! Garilyo!”. That’s what cigarette vendors shout when selling.
I was helpless. I couldn’t do anything but let their bullying go in one ear and out the other as though I wasn’t hearing anything.
I still remember, one of my high school friends asked me, “Jaycee, bakit ganun ang tawag nila sa iyo?” I just shrugged my shoulders and said, “I don’t know. I don’t know them.”
All I could murmur under my breath was, “One day. One day.”
I am thankful that the Lord trained my heart before He enriched my pocket. That “one day” I was once saying under my breath has become “today”.
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*This story was published on this Facebook page.
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