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In humanity, we must trust…

June 6, 2014

His watch showed 6.15 pm when the train reached the FGC station at Reina Elisenda. It was now the time to exit his cabin and walk back to the other end of the train and start the vehicle to commute back to Placa Catalunya. Jordi Garcia-Sanchez was used to this routine. He was working for the Ferrocarrils de la Generalitat de Catalunya, the FGC, for the past 15 years. This suburban line (L6) was his duty line this year during his afternoon shifts. He liked the way the whole FGC operated. While the commuters were unaware of the FGC-staffs’ collective efforts to simplify and enhance their commuting experience, the staff had to endure the long routines during their shifts. A trip to the loo had to be cut short to the minimal possible time scale so as to stick to the strict train schedules. Of course, the occasional delays were inevitable, but the 5 minute breaks between two subsequent trips was enough to rid the intestine or the bladder of its contents or have a peaceful drag on handmade fags (cigs are expensive to buy as are).

Though the work may seem mundane to a bystander, Jordi loved his job. He wore the red jacket of his uniform with pride and felt wonderful whenever he saw FGC’s logo gleaming when he examined himself in a mirror. He could meet his buddies from work every night for beer –a bottle or two, and have a serene supper with his wife and teenage kids. He was approaching middle age, but his job had the security that others lacked since the recent sacking embroilment that followed the economic crisis in Spain. When life gives roses, it gives with them thorns. Jordi’s salary was relatively low and his savings will start diminishing once he retires from his job. He has been agitated and the conversations with his comrades often involved the need for salary raises and how the recognition of an independent territory of Catalonia will serve to alleviate the crashing local economy.

Today he was tense. Someone had stolen his wife’s purse while shopping for groceries earlier this afternoon. The increasing prices of local market goods meant that he had to curtail about 3 meals this week to break even on the family’s expenditure. He thought of how Man was losing his sanity and now his courtesy towards the rest of his kinsmen. His mind was letting lose a variety of expletives at the perpetrator of thievery and cursing him to molder in the eighth Halo of Dante’s Inferno. A soft but high pitched squeak from behind him interrupted his walk towards the opposite end of the train.

Discúlpame!”

“Excuse me!” shouted the round-faced 3 year old girl running to keep up with his steps. She was no taller than the height of his thigh. She was wearing her kindergarten uniform of a yellow T-shirt (with green and red elbow patches on the right and left hand sleeves respectively) with a matching yellow skirt. Her parents and 2 older sisters were looking on from twenty yards behind her.

“Disculpe señor. Creo que alguien ha perdido su billete de tren en la plataforma. Aquí está.”

“Excuse me Mister. I think someone has lost his train ticket on the platform. Here it is.” The girl was panting in excitement and concern.

Jordi’s thoughts of the state of humanity and the simulated wails of pain of the thief who stole his meals had instantly vanished. He took the ticket and its cover.

“Gracias niña. Volveré esta al propietario.”

“Thank you little girl. I will return this to the owner”, Jordi promised the little girl with a large smile.

As he walked away in an elated mood towards his cabin at the other end of the train, the little girl ran back with a smile from ear to ear. She was satisfied that she had done a good deed in congruence with her altruistic upbringing. Her mother waited eagerly till she returned and dabbed her affectionately on the back and fondled with her daughter’s hair. She was proud to see how her daughter was growing up.

Jordi walked away with his trust in humanity restored (though he lost 3 meals); the little girl’s actions were the right things to be done in a society with rampant crimes of all magnitudes; and her mother was reminded of a quote of Khalil Gibran that she had read in high-school:

“The smallest act of kindness is worth more than the greatest intention.”

 

Note: The above narration is that of a true incident. The time, name and dialogs of the characters may not be true. Google translate is solely responsible for any mistakes in the Spanish quotes.

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