Mr. Vasquez is the owner and president of a highly successful shoe company in the country. He is a cunning businessman and a strict employer. Only the best can make it to his payroll and he hires and fires employees when and if he sees fit. His time is gold and his word is law. But though he is not the kindest nor the nicest man to work for, his employees stay because he keeps them fairly compensated.
Among his most faithful and trusted employees is Mang Nardo, his driver of 10 years. First and foremost, Mang Nardo is punctual. He does his job without questions and without complaints and that’s how Mr. Vasquez wants it.
One stormy morning, Mr. Vasquez and Mang Nardo were rushed to the nearest hospital. They had an accident on the road. Aside from a broken arm and several cuts and bruises, Mr. Vasquez was fine. Mang Nardo, who avoided a skidding motorcycle and at the same time tried to protect his employer, however, received more severe injuries. He was comatose.
Mr. Vasquez made sure his driver got the best medical attention. While in the hospital, Mr. Vasquez saw Mang Nardo’s wife and children taking turns in keeping watch. His wife and daughter, however, were busy. They have their own branches of the company to manage and as soon as they learned that he was safe, they simply promised to send a car to bring him home.
On their third day in the hospital, some of Mr. Vasquez’s employees came over, but not to visit him, but to check on Mang Nardo’s condition. They had with them a paper bag of food for Mang Nardo’s family and an envelope with money. It was a contribution of all the employees who are all Mang Nardo’s friends. Unaware that Mr. Vasquez would pay the driver’s hospitalization bill, Mang Nardo’s co-workers donated money to help out.
Every day since the accident, Mang Nardo had visitors. It seems like the driver, poor as he is, is very rich in love and friendship. On the seventh day, Mr. Vasquez received a call from the hospital, Mang Nardo was Finally, after two weeks, Mang Nardo woke up.
Mr. Vasquez dropped by in his driver’s hospital room and was surprised to find all of his employees there. There were food and gifts on the table. Mang Nardo, still weak and pale, was smiling and on his face was genuine gratitude of a friend to another friend.
Everybody froze when Mr. Vasquez entered the room. Nobody even thought to ask how he was, they were either too intimidated or simply didn’t care about him. Probably out of habit, Mr. Vasquez’s secretary poured a glass of soft drink and handed it to him. Mr. Vasquez accepted the glass but felt very very awkward.
In the midst of genuine affection and demonstration of camaraderie, he felt the odd one out. He didn’t belong here. He was an intruder, an uninvited guest. They put up with him only because he is their employer, nothing more, nothing less.
He looked at Mang Nardo and he thought how easy it was for the driver to get along with everybody. And for the first time in his life, Mr. Vasquez asked himself if there is someone, anyone, who cares about him the way these people care about Mang Nardo. He wasn’t sure.
Mr. Vasquez finished his drink. He shook Mang Nardo’s hand and bid everybody goodbye. He walked out of the hospital and felt a heaviness in his heart that he didn’t know to be envy.
(Original story by the blog author. Any similarities with other stories, fiction or otherwise, are purely incidental.)