So, this is kind of the least dramatic of all my posts so far. And I can’t wait to tell you my experience with something that every one of us should be very aware of in riding a public vehicle (i.e., jeepney). Especially to those who don’t have any care in the world once they step on and get themselves seated, I warn you that this is something that you could definitely learn a lesson from.
It was 6:37 p.m. (and I really bothered to check my watch) when we’ve arrived at Jaro Public Market to wait for my cousin who’s coming back from Manila after a week-long vacation and of course to trip our way home after a very tiring day at Robinson’s. I didn’t know that we are supposed to watch “Praybeyt Benjamin” and my not-knowing disheartened my mom because it was when we were about to buy tickets when I told her that I’ve already watched the film. To tell you, it’s not my fault. They should’ve told me beforehand. That’s the reason why we went home early although we still managed to buy stuffs despite the glitches. And maybe the idea of it all was truly designed for us to experience the thing I’m going to tell you.
It didn’t take long when my cousin has finally arrived. Seeing his luggage, the konduktor took them all and positioned them in a least space-occupying way. The jeepney we rode in was colored rusty red and has this little entrance behind the front seat. I’ve known this exact vehicle for all my four years of going from home to school and back. And this was where everything took place.
When we finally found a comfortable seat for the five of us (mom, two cousins, aunt, and I) behind the driver’s seat, I saw this guy in front of me. He’s late 40’s, wearing a white shirt and holding a large black bag tightly on his arms like he wouldn’t want anyone to take it away from him. He was seated to the left of the three ladies, whom we know but not really closed to, that’s why I didn’t wonder why my mom and my aunt just gave them a cold shoulder. They both just have a never-ending earsplitting colloquy like no one else is within the vehicle but them.
When it was about to leave, I saw another man sitting on an extension chair in close proximity to the little entrance behind the front seat. He’s about the same age as the guy in front me. He’s wearing a worn out cap, and was like hiding his face that’s why I didn’t really recognize him. Most of the seats were emptied when we reached Savannah and the guy in front of me was one of those who unloaded themselves from the vehicle. The three ladies beside him went backwards and seemed offering a seat for the guy sitting near the little entrance. The guy didn’t move an inch. I was troubled because if I was in his case, I wouldn’t settle in there knowing that there is much space to sit on. Well, I just didn't mind. Maybe, he’d be moving out somewhere near and found changing seats just a hassle. But I was wrong. He had stayed there until we arrived at the poblacion, about 20 minutes from Savannah. That’s kind of awkward, you know. Then, the konduktor asked each of us our specific streets. He first asked the mother of two. The lady mouthed, “RV” as if she wouldn't like everybody to know where she lives. I know exactly where they live and the konduktor didn’t understand her. My mom exclaimed, “Kalye kami.” And then the konduktor shouted to the driver, “Kalye tanan.” Uh-oh. There seemed to be a trouble here. He has mistaken RV as Kalye. Well, I didn’t really immerse myself into that. It’s not anymore my problem. The guy unloaded himself hurriedly passing the entrance behind the front seat with hesitation.
The following sentences confirmed my speculations about what I have noticed with the guy sitting near the little entrance. “Snatcher to ang gago nga to! Kagina ya pa kamo to ginatulo-tulok. Kadamo daan sang dala niyu. Kag gang lalaki nga tupad namon nga nanaog sa Savannah? Upod ya to! Maayo lang kay ginhalin ko ang akon bag amo to siguro ngaa nanaog sila kay wala sila kadiskarte.” said the lady next to the entrance with much emphasis though trying her best to just whisper. She was talking to us. Goose-pimples rushed over my body. I was like, how did they know that?! They’re very observant. I’ve just noticed a few clues but I never thought they were snatchers!
The reason why the guy near the entrance didn’t move a bit is because it’s more convenient to escape if he’d be there. And the reason why he didn’t take a thing from us even though my cousin who was holding his bags was sleeping is because the lady sitting next to entrance signaled her brother who was sitting next to the driver and beside my cousin to watch over the mysterious guy.
The mother explained to us, “Nakulbaan ko gani basi sundan ya kami sa balay amo na nga naghutik lang ko sa konduktor.” Her daughter supported, “Hambal ko gani kung indi pa siya magnaog, manaog kami di kag masakay tricycle pa-puli.” Oh well, I turned out to be somewhat observant, somehow. I just didn’t get what those observations were implying. But at least, I knew something and it’s a good thing.
I've learned so much from that experience of mine. I hope you did, too. The next time you ride on a public vehicle, be sure to watch over your things especially those that contain your valuables!