It all started with a basketball game with friends. It was nothing much, just a simple initiative to keep ourselves healthy. Who would have thought that an accident will bring about a deeper understanding, a renewed view and perspective of life, and an experience of a whole new sentiment in me?
They could not recognize me, but I recognized them. She could not recognize me, but I too, recognized her.
Being a total dummy in basketball, I was amazed at my luck in scoring a few shots last Tuesday. I had never really enjoyed the sport until then, as I would never get past my previous friends in school. They were all too good at it. From time to time I would only get to touch the ball for less than a split of a second, and it would slip away, either due to my clumsiness and delayed actions in dribbling, or my friends’ swift reflexes in stealing the ball away from me. Getting a few shots in the basket got me sky-high, a temporary boost of self confidence, mounting aggression, and eventually an out-of-shape spectacles and a minor cut on the cheek, which comes with a bump near the corner of my left eye, free of charge.
I decided to get my glasses repaired today, because classes ended early. As I arrived at my destination, I was greeted by a few enthusiastic faces, of which belong to some who seemed like sales promoters. At the same time, they handed me a small envelope. “Take one, sir, and open it.” I politely rejected, leaving them behind, puzzled. Not again, I thought.
I have been through this before. Just a few weeks past, they had approached me with the same smile and the same gesture. Being nice, I opened my envelope for them, drawing out a piece of paper from inside. Before I could even take a look at it, a female promoter let out a high pitched squeal. A colleague of her ran over, peeked at the paper, gasped, and shook my hand forcefully. I was taken aback. They explained that I have won a prize, and in order to redeem it I would need to carry out a long list of procedures which include stopping by at their office two blocks away and take a photo with them. They also claim that they would receive a 20 percent commission if I do so. For a moment I believed them, but their over-enthusiasm and non-stop babbling irritated me. I never had the chance to say something, and as I listened to their explanation I came to realize that they were just beating around the bush, not making any sense at all. Suspiciously, I expressed that I was uninterested and walked away. They tried to stop me from letting go of this precious prize but failed when I casted them my indifferent look. Something MUST be behind it, somehow.
After having my glasses adjusted, I stopped by McDonalds to grab a quick dinner before I head back. As I was eating, I was interrupted by a familiar voice. “Excuse me sir, do you have a moment?” I tilted by head and saw a figure that could never be mistaken – a woman with cheeks hot pink, sweating, smiling, and a backpack carried behind her. Without hesitation I invited her for a seat, initiating to start a conversation with her, as we have met before. However, as soon as she sits she started briefing me about her volunteering career, gasping for air during intervals. “I’m not a beggar,” she assured me multiple times, then told me about the centre she works in, and about freewill donation. “Feel free to check my ID, license and browse through my log book as I explain.”Although I have heard all these before, I waited for her to finish and handed her a humble amount for donation. “We have met before,” I told her, but she didn’t seem to hear it, but handed me a sticker, thanked me and walked away. I couldn’t help but recall my encounter with her in Sunway Pyramid a few months ago, where she persuaded me into my first donation for charity.
As she was explaining with immense effort, wiping away trickles of sweat at her forehead, deep in my heart I admired her love and care towards the unfortunate and needy, her boundless love and her dedication as a volunteer. I never expected to see her again since the last time we met. I took a deep breath as her tone gentled down whenever she mentioned the poor children in her centre. Her love was infectious. Her care made me feel guilt. Her spirit had woken my underlying conscience. My misconception towards social workers had changed.
As I headed back home, I walked past the group of ‘promoters’, eyeing a few of them talking with passers-by , some in the middle of an enthusiastic handshake. I turned away quietly, leaving them to their business. I would never judge their job, as I myself was unsure that whether there was such a big catch. However, one thing I know for sure is that there would never be a free lunch in this realistic world… These are all too good to be true.
Two separate meetings in a day, with two different comprehension and realizations. Would there be a third, I wonder?