chuvaness
Master and Servant (Part One)
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When the Ayala Malls The 30th opened in our neighborhood last January, little did I know that a month later, an accident near the mall would forever change some lives.

Last week, the Internet was abuzz about a story published in The Atlantic, about a Filipino woman who was enslaved by a Filipino family in the United States.

slave

The story broke my heart and I read it twice. While many people chose to attack the late author Alex Tizon and his family, I tend to agree with Teddyboy Locsin, who called it a love letter to Lola.

This morning I read We Are All Tizons which brings to light how people treat their helper—the people who work to make our lives more comfortable.
It was unfortunate that horrible monsters still exist in our society. I had to talk to one a few months ago. The encounter left me traumatized for weeks….

Last February, I was expecting my husband to come home early to cook spaghetti bolognese with me.
The ingredients were ready by 4PM, but he didn’t come home until around 6:30 PM.
When he walked in, he look very much stressed and harassed. Jeroen said his driver had an accident and ran over a jaywalker’s foot in front of the 30th Mall. The jaywalker had been on the phone while crossing the street. He chose to cross in front of the mall, even though the actual zebra crossing was just a few yards away.

The man’s foot was bloodied. A crowd gathered around, and seeing a white man (my husband) stepping out of a BMW, they took out their phones and started taking pictures. A traffic enforcer came. My husband, in his meager knowledge of Tagalog, heard him say it was the man’s fault, not our driver’s.
With that, my Dutch husband decided to walk home.

When he told me what happened, my first instinct was to wonder if it was some sort of modus operandi, because my friend Biden had a man throw himself in front of her car in Divisoria to solicit money. My husband assured me it was not like that. The man was really in pain.
We decided to cook spaghetti while waiting for news from the driver.

Two hours later, I got a call from Medical City Hospital in Ortigas where the cops took the victim, Nilo (not his real name), and my driver. My instinct during a time like this, was to offer to pay for the medical bill because the victim was poor. Never mind if it was his fault.
This, I told the police officer over the phone. The police handed the phone to the doctor who told me I had to make a Php 20,000 deposit to have Nilo confined. The doctor then asked if I would have the victim transferred to a government hospital because Medical City is expensive. It would cost more than Php 150,000 for the first surgery. I braced myself.

Having experienced horrible service at a government hospital in 2010, I told them to keep Nilo there. I could imagine the pain he was going through and thought the humanitarian thing was to get him treated as soon as possible.

I spoke to Nilo on the phone and told him not to worry, I would take care of the bills. But I need him to sign a waiver that it ends there. I would pay for his bills and he cannot run after us or press charges because he was the one jaywalking. I was there to help him get through this. Nilo was kind and agreed. I quickly called my lawyer cousin and asked him to email me a waiver form.
Then I sent my maid to the hospital with Php 20,000 deposit and the form. And then I got a call back that Nilo refused to sign the waiver.

Meanwhile, the police had taken my driver into custody, along with the BMW.

I decided to call to Nilo on the phone. Apparently he had consulted with his boss in Tarlac who told him not to sign anything. I asked for his boss’s name, did a quick Facebook search, and found him.
I went through his Friend’s list and found common friends (Yvette Fernandez, Elbert Cuenca) and a distant cousin from the Zamora side.

I reached out to my cousin to ask the boss to vouch for me before I talked to him. Unfortunately my cousin refused to help me. It was already 10:30 PM and I didn’t want my driver to sleep in the precinct. God knows I have watched too may Brillante Mendoza movies to know what happens in there….

(Sorry I have to pause because this is getting stressful. Be back in a while.)

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  • girlscoutnocookie

    Alam ko wala to sa tamang lugar, but Chuvaness your husband really should learn more Tagalog. I understand his everyday work & social life is comfortably conducted in English, but the exceptional situations (ie accidents and emergencies) are exactly when he needs to speak and understand Tagalog in order to avoid being exploited (which thankfully he wasn’t in this case). -Tracy

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