Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Remembering a Janitor

Here's a touching story of someone remembering a janitor who did her an invaluable act of kindness (found via Mig's blog.)
To be eligible for graduation, I had to enroll in my last three courses and pay my tuition fee. Since my parents didn’t have enough money for my matriculation, I applied for a student loan hoping that my one of my Home Economics (HE) professors would take pity on me and sign on as a guarantor for the student loan. But those whom I approached either refused or were not eligible as guarantors. After two unsuccessful weeks of looking for a guarantor, my prospects looked dim, my future dark. And so, there I was, a downtrodden twenty year old with a foggy future, crying in the AS lobby. I only had twenty four hours left to look for a guarantor.
Mang Mel, with a mop in hand, approached me and asked me why I was crying. I told him I had no guarantor for my student loan and will probably not be able to enroll this semester. I had no hopes that he would be able to help me. After all, he was just a janitor. He borrowed my loan application papers and said softly, “Puwede ako pumirma. Empleyado ako ng UP.” He borrowed my pen and signed his name. With his simple act of faith, Mang Mel not only saved my day, he also saved my future.

If you haven't done so already, you really should read the full story. But the crux of this is: the recently retired Mang Milton, to raise some money, has cut and released an album. I believe this story made it to the front page sidebar of some national dailies. You can get more info on where to buy the CD from the aforementioned blog.

The story, though, has some sad revelations. For all his kindness, though, Mang Milton has been left holding the proverbial empty bag. The author relates:

We were welcomed into their home by his daughter Kit. As she pointed out to a laminated photo of Mang Mel on the wall, she proudly told us that her father did retire with recognition from the University. However, she sadly related to us that many of the students whose loans Mang Mel guaranteed neglected to settle their student loans. After forty-five years of service to the University, Mang Mel was only attributed 171 days of work for his retirement pay because all the unpaid student loans were deducted from his full retirement pay of about 675 days. This seems to me a cruel repayment for his kindness.

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