How Much Does It Cost To Save A Life?

Follow Your Heart - Angels In Human Form

Here's my entry which just happened today:

Date: March 13, 2009
Time: Around 10:30pm

If a stranger one day comes up to you and asks for help, would you?

I did.

On my usual cigarette break, I stood on one corner not meaning to avoid people, but sometimes I feel better off alone so I could think things through.

Suddenly, a woman crying, her eyes red, her face wet with tears with that look of desperation approached me. She was half hysterical which scared me a bit. I managed to calm her down and asked what the problem was.

Her voice crack as she shows me a piece of paper with the Philippine General Hospital Logo on it. It seemed like a prescription note from the hospital. I immediately concluded that it would have been one of that modus operandi where people would pretend so they can steal other people's money. In any given day, I usually don't buy these stuffs and would just totally ignore it.

But this was something different, when I looked straight in her eyes, I could sense the sincerity and the frustration of trying to get a medicine for someone. I imagined what if it was my mother running around the streets of Makati at night crying, convincing people she's telling the truth and no one believes her?

I asked, "ano po nangyari?" "What happened?"

The woman said still crying, "yung anak ko po, kelangan kabitan ng tubo, wala po kaming pera, kelangan ko makabili ng tubo." "My daughter, she needs to get a tube, I don't have any money, I have to buy a tube."

I suddenly had the urge to help. It didn't matter whether she was telling the truth or not, this very rare, one time moment, I felt I had to help. I slowly signaled to take my wallet out and she said, "D ko po kelangan ng pera, kelangan ko po ung tubo, ikaw na lang po bumili..." "I don't need the money, I need the tube, can you please buy the tube for her?"

I asked how much the tube is. Then she showed me the receipt again and it said 2,700 pesos!! I handed her 100 pesos and told her that it's all I can give. She thanked me and went around the other people. I saw some people draw out some money as well.

After a few minutes, I got surprised when she came back to me. She was still crying. I constantly told her that I don't have enough money to cover for the tube, 100 pesos is all I can give.

Then she took all the money she had asked from strangers from her pocket, her hands trembling, her face almost covered with tears and showed it to me, "sir, 680 pesos na lang po ang kulang, baka pede nyo dagdagan na lang..." "Sir, I need 680 pesos more, if you can add."

I gave her the options. I told her the money that she has, she can use that as a down payment and just sign a promissory note or something. I told her that PGH is a government hospital and also to try to seek help from PCSO.

She told me she already did and showed me a PCSO paper. The thing is, it takes a while before they could fund her and her 3 year old daughter's case needs immediate medical intervention. It's a case of Broncho pneumonia. PGH won't be able to help her with the tube, only with the service. The problem was, she needed to purchase the tube outside the hospital and that tube needs to be purchased ASAP!

When she explained it to me, I began to understand her weeping and the endless search for help.

I told her to give me the prescription and I went inside the office. I talked to my trainers and some of the agents regarding the situation outside. In less than 20 minutes, I was able to gather donations from different people of exactly 680 pesos!

I asked some of the donors to go with me so they can see the woman they have helped today.

I took a picture of the woman after she received the remaining amount. You could see the sense of relief she felt when we gave her the money. She was grateful and asked me for the last time, "ano nga po ulit name nyo sir?' "What is your name, sir?"

I said "Mike" and off she ran. She had to rush since the procedure needed to be immediately in place.

What did it take me to save a life today?

100 pesos and 20 minutes of pure talk.

Written in 2009 by Michael Jess Javier Roquios