It was a sunny Wednesday afternoon when FO3 Cabauatan and the rest of the team of the Lal-lo Fire Station, during their building inspection at the various South-western barangays, chanced upon this lovely axe-strong girl, Shiela. He was entranced by the fact that this young lady, although disabled, had that determination in her eyes, glimmering like a diamond in the middle of a ballroom. She had that aura of a warrior, depicting so much strength and dignity – that although she’s hit, she’s never beaten and that although she’s tired, she’s never ceded.
As our team arrived at the venue, stunned faces welcomed us – teachers and students alike. With the whole Logac National High School Community as witness, FO3 Cabauatan, in a movie-like slowmo setting, approached, held shiela in his arms and gave her a heart-shaped token with some cash. What’s more heart-melting was when FO3 Cabauatan’s five-year old son hand over to Shiela three pieces of peach-coloured roses.
Unlike other girls her age, never did she experience the wonders of walking with both legs, neither the joys of wearing jeans and skirts, nor the bliss of sporting shoes and sandals. But who cares? We don’t get to walk with our bare hands, she does with dignity and pride. We didn’t get to be surprised by a fire officer and his son. Well, guess what? She did.
She’s unapologetically shy but genially candid and smart. There are things that we can do that Shiela can’t. Surely, that much is true. But definitely, there are things we can’t do that she can, and there are things that we can do that she can do better.
As to the part of FO3 Zosimo Cabauatan, a very big thank you. He says Shiela inspired him. Well, get this straight. He as well, serves as an inspiration. It’s because of people like him that hope continues to prosper – a hope that we will all live in a peaceful setting. As Mother Teresa puts it, “If you can't feed a hundred people, then feed just one.”
By Rebecca D. Bautista