“‘Tay, may abogado ka na.”
“I imagined myself saying those words to you as I was driving along the University Avenue this morning. Coming home to UP always meant coming home to everything I loved and cherished for eight years, including you. So as I drove around campus, I kept throwing glances at large crowds, or the places you used to frequent, searching for the great mantataho — my Tatay Dong,” lawyer Alex Castro wrote on Facebook, thanking the taho vendor who made a big difference in her life back when she was still in college.
While she didn’t elaborate about her background in life, it was clear that Alex struggled financially back in her college days. There were many days when she would go to school hungry and would only eat taho for breakfast.
When the taho vendor learned this over their regular chats, he made sure to wait for Alex even if it was raining – just to make sure she had something to eat!
“I met you when I was a wide-eyed freshie. We’d see each other at 7am every day, because you were stationed at the building I had my morning class in. We’d chat every morning over taho. Eventually, you found out that I’d always go to school with an empty stomach. So you made it a point to wait for me in the morning, rain or shine, with a fresh cup of taho, every single day for four years, until I finished my undergrad degree,” Alex narrated.
But Tatay Dong, as Alex fondly calls the taho vendor, did not just provide her with food; he was also one of her staunch supporters in all her endeavors. Upon seeing that his ‘adopted daughter’ didn’t have a jacket, this kindhearted taho vendor washed his only jacket and gave it to her the following day.
“I was just a daughter you picked up along the way, but you were so protective of me. One rainy day in December of 2009, I went to school without a jacket. I remember you were so concerned. So the following morning, you handed me a package along with my taho. When I opened it, it was your jacket. The one you were wearing the previous morning, and all the mornings before that. Your ~only~ jacket. You wouldn’t take it back, and the only thing you said to me when I tried to give it back for the last time is, ‘Nilaban ko na ‘yan, ‘Nak. Iyo na ‘yan,’” Alex shared.
He didn’t have a lot of stuff himself, yet this taho vendor was willing to give his only jacket to keep this young student warm.
“Eventually, I was able to return the favor. I got you a new jacket for you to wear. You wore it with so much pride and such a huge smile the morning after, and all the mornings after that. Whenever your friends asked about it, you’d always say, ‘Bigay ng anak ko ‘yan,’” Alex added.
Now that she is a lawyer, Alex went back to UP to visit her honorary dad. It was a heartwarming reunion!
“Fortunately, earlier today, word got to you that I was in UP. I couldn’t help but smile when I saw you rushing to the Sunken Garden from afar. When you saw me, you immediately embraced me and exclaimed, “I missed you!” It truly felt like a homecoming. You held me so tight, and finally, I was able to tell you the words you said you’d wait to hear from me — “‘Tay, may abogado ka na.”
I hope I made you proud, ‘Tay. You deserve all the love in the world.”
Isn’t that amazing?
Source: Facebook / Alex Castro