Sunday, May 23, 2010
Sweet Little Angel
It was the worst of times. It was the best of times...
Well, it was not that bad but it definitely was not short of a little miracle for me.
It happened a few weeks ago. I wrote it as soon as I got my hands on my keyboard but somehow I did not get to complete writing about it.
I need to get this out because I want everyone to know that there are angels on this earth and you may very well meet one in an unlikely place, with an unlikely stranger.
It was a Sunday afternoon. I was out buying stationary in preparation for my 2 weeks course that was to start the following day.
While paying at the cashier, I unknowingly dropped my little brown pouch that contained my EZLink commuter card, my iPhone earphones, my thumbdrive and business cards.
I realized that my pouch was not in my right-side pocket as usual upon leaving the store. Tracking immediately back into the store, I frantically searched for it by retracing my steps around the isles.
Hoping that no one had found it yet before me, I felt panicky because I had never lost anything before. I consciously check things I carry on me at all times. I am mindful of this so that I do not find myself in this exact situation... but I was, that Sunday afternoon.
I headed to the cashier counter near the entrance. I informed the lady of my loss and asked if anyone had found and surrendered it there. Nope! No such luck. So I left my name and contact as the lady suggested, just in case.
At that point, I felt really pessimistic about getting any of the stuff inside the pouch back at all... not even the business cards. After all, most of the items could be used by anyone without getting into any trouble... finders keepers.
I left the store a little distraught but as soon as I stepped out, a little old lady stopped me.
"I heard you'd lost something." The old lady said and reached out to hold my hand.
She was a petite Eurasian lady with short and curly graying hair. She was in her mid-sixties.
Wearing a washed-out, small printed, flowery dress, she had old brown slippers on her. A seasoned, black tote bag slung on her right shoulder and a plastic bag, bearing the name of stationary shop was slung on her left arm, right to her elbow.
I noticed that she did not have any jewelery on her, not even a watch or a wedding ring. From her appearance, I gathered that she led a humble life. Yet, what stood out was that compassionate, motherly face, with those kind eyes and a warm smile that I cannot forget.
"Yes. My pouch." I replied with a forced smile, still in disbelief that I had lost it despite being a careful person that I am. I was not up for small chats at all.
"Don't worry," she continued, "I'll stay here and pray to Saint Anthony for you."
I was bewildered at this point, not knowing what to think. I was already in distraught. My only concern then was to have enough change in my pocket to take the bus back home.
"Go back inside," the little old lady said. Her voice was calm and caring. She gave my arm a little squeeze to reassure me, "look again. Slowly this time."
"I have gone around twice, I can't find it." I said, resigned to my fate.
"You will find it. I know you will," she replied, looking into my eyes, "Saint Anthony's never let me down before. Go. Go on."
I went inside once again, obliging her more than actually believing that I could ever find it the third time around. I went inside and instead of retracing my steps again, I approached two ladies who worked there and asked for their help to find my lost pouch.
As soon as I described the lost item, they started searching the area. They went separate ways looking down at the floor and under shelves and inside containers, really thorough.
I went around again, this time slowly and as thoroughly as I could, but it was nowhere to be found. There were not many customers in the shop at the time, so as I went back to the entrance of the shop. Doubts began to form in my mind... I might have dropped it on my way to there!
At that point, I thought that that was the end of it. I would never see my stuff again. I surrendered it to fate and faith of a Samaritan to return it whole to me.
Just as I was thanking the cashier for the last time and walking out, my eyes suddenly caught sight of my pouch! It was at the foot of a stack of books, snug in between the stack and the counter.
I felt a sudden flush. I was in disbelief but this time, relieved, as I went to pick my pouch up.
Quite excitedly, I told the two kind ladies of my good news and thanked them. The cashier was obviously happy for me as well. I gave a silent "thank you" prayer to The Almighty as I walked out of the shop.
Outside, a even pleasant surprise was waiting for me. The little old lady was still at the same spot! Standing there, waiting for me, her hands clasped together. She was really praying for me!
An overwhelming feeling of warmth and joy tingled inside me. It was a lot like a movie scene! A perfect picture of compassion was in front of me.
"Did you find it?" She asked me as soon as her eyes met mine.
"Yes! Thank you so much for your concern." I replied gratefully and with a big smile.
"I told you, you’d find it." She continued, giving a warm smile and whispered "Thank you" into the air.
She then went about telling me the story of Saint Anthony... a baker who once lost his keys to this bakery. He promised that if God were to let him find his keys, he would give his whole day's takings to charity.
He did find them and fulfilled his promised by giving his bread to less fortunate that day. He soon became popular with his kind deeds that people began to treat him like an angel sent.
She told me of her personal experience of loosing her keys too. It fell out in the cab she was taking a ride home. The cab was already gone by the time she realized that she had lost them.
Uncertain where she had lost it, left at her void deck of her flat, she started praying to Saint Anthony for help. Like a miracle, the cab driver turned back to where he had dropped her to return the keys he found in his cab.
Being of the Muslim faith, I obliged to listen to her stories, even though I believe it was The Almighty's will that I had found it but it was through her. She asked me to look for the time.
Nonetheless, I was totally grateful for her concern and compassion, her confidence and her strong faith in her religion. She was just like an angel sent.
Her Catholic faith was strong and sincere, and without boundaries! She gave her time to pray for a stranger's well being. Selflessly she tried to help any way she could within her capacity. She was my Mother Theresa!
I gave her some money as little a token of enormous gratitude. She refused at first, saying that it was too much. I insisted that she take it because her kind act was more valuable to me than the amount of money I gave her. Of which she asked if I wanted her to donate it to charity just like Saint Anthony.
"It's for you and your husband's dinner tonight." I replied. "It's your money, do what you want with it. Give some to charity if you wish to."
"Thank you for your prayers." I continued. "For some reason, God has made our paths crossed. I get to meet you who have helped me today. Thank you, auntie." I said sincerely from the bottom of my heart.
She went on to tell that she was at the shop for a pen and a pack of white envelops.
"I'll use some of this money as a contribution to my neighbour." She said further. "She'd just lost her husband. That poor woman is now alone." The little angel was talking about her neighbour of many years, who was of her age too.
All too soon, we said our goodbyes and parted ways.
"I'll remember you, Imran." She said after I walked a certain distance away.
Wait... how did she know my name?
I looked back upon realizing but had lost sight of her by then. I did not walked back to look for her; I just brushed it off as just a coincidence... then again...
While on the bus ride home, I went through the whole afternoon incident again in my head. I tried much to figure out the "coincidence" too.
Maybe we had met before. But I could not recall any occasion.
"You look like Imran Khan, the Pakistani cricket player."
That was what I remembered she said from one of our conversations. I just laughed and blushingly replied that the cricket hero was a handsome guy, so much that I was not... but I was sure I did not confirm to her that we shared the same first name.
Maybe she was just teasing me. I did not get her name...
May The Almighty bless that little lady's big heart.
Thank you, sweet little angel.