My ‘May I Borrow a Pen?’ Story

The Philippine government established an act aiming the use of single national ID for all Filipinos and resident aliens in the country. Everybody must register and complete the step-by-step process in getting the national ID. I was scheduled for my biometrics the other day in our local municipality. I arrived at 10:30 in the morning eventhough the time schedule indicated from the text message sent to me was 12noon. There were two queues at the venue, one is for the senior citizens, which is a priority lane and the other one is for the ordinary citizens like me.

The queue was already very long when I arrived. Good thing that there were chairs available in the waiting area. I sat down at the end of the line and patiently waited for my turn. People were continue coming and the waiting room was almost full. There was a personnel who roamed around and distribute a sheet of form to be filled-up with our basic information.

I opened my bag to get a pen and unfortunately, I found nothing. It was very rare of me to not bring a pen everytime I’ll go outside. It’s been my habit to put pens in all my bags because I hate borrowing from others, especially this time of pandemic. I usually bring two pens, a spare one to lend if somebody needs it. I took out everything from my bag and I really forgot to bring one. I looked around and almost everybody in the waiting room were busy writing and filling-up the form. I got a second thought of borrowing because maybe others also doesn’t want to lend their pens for safety precautions.

Though I hated the idea, I stand and walked around to look for someone who could lend me a pen. Some of them hurriedly kept their pens as I was approaching. That was rude, I thought, but it’s their right to do so. I asked already five persons closed to where I was but they ignored me and acted busy as if they didn’t hear or see me. What’s wrong with these peeps, I thought. It’s only a pen, why it’s difficult for them to lend it for just a few minutes.

I started blaming myself for being forgetful. I went back to my seat feeling helpless. I saw the same personnel infront of the line starting to collect the form. Before he get closer, I approached him asking if I could borrow a pen. He refused and to my surprised, he gave me a scold for not bringing my own pen. Another humiliation. What’s happening to the world?

As I was walking back to my seat, I saw a middle-aged man walking towards me. He gave me his pen and told me that I could keep it because it’s his spare. I thanked him with all my heart and jut saw his eyes smiled because we were all wearing a mask. I saw him back to his seat at the very end of the line. I was still lucky that day because for almost two hundred people in that room, there’s still one who saved my day.

After almost three hours of waiting, my turn has come and I finished everything. And before I stepped out from that room, I approached again the soul who gave me a pen and thanked him for the last time. He removed his mask for a few seconds and I found out that he is the seafood vendor in the market to whom I always buy. He recognized me that’s why he approached me. He said that he’s also grateful because I always buy seafood from him.

I was smiling while walking out from the municipal building. And before heading home, I went to a school supplies shop and bought a box of pen.

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