December 18

Creating Space: The Chain of Benevolence


One morning on a solo journey to Manila, my father found himself on a typical bus from our province, overflowing with passengers. Among the crowd, he noticed a woman, roughly my age, struggling to maintain her balance. In a spontaneous act of kindness, he offered his seat to her, a simple gesture that later imparted a significant lesson to me about the power of goodwill.

That same day he recounted this story to me explaining his hope that if I were ever in a similar situation, a kind stranger would extend the same courtesy to me. My father wasn’t a traditional patriarch, dispensing wisdom in solemn speeches; instead, he imparted his insights through thoughtful actions, teaching me life’s greatest lessons not through words, but through the eloquence of his deeds.

This act was not uncommon in the Philippines. Men were sort of expected to be a gentleman, to offer their seat to a woman or an elder. By my Dad’s gesture wasn’t just about the physical space in a crowded bus; his reasoning was rooted in the hope that such acts of kindness, even to those unknown to us, create a chain of benevolence that could, in some way, extend to our loved ones.

From that time on, life constantly showed me that kindness doesn’t necessarily return to us directly, but by contributing to a kinder world, we indirectly nurture an environment where those dear to us might also receive kindness from others. Kindness is a gift we give to the world, trusting it will keep giving, reaching those we hold close in ways we might never know.

This experience resonated with me as an entrepreneur. In the Philippines, where I started my career, opportunities were limited, much like the space on those daily commutes in packed buses. It was the chances given by people far from my immediate environment that allowed me to advance.

Now, I strive to extend similar opportunities to others, mirroring my father’s act of kindness. I aim to create chances for others, even strangers, hoping that the ones I love, my nieces and nephews in particular who are just starting out in life, encounter a world more open and generous than the one I initially faced.

In every crowded journey of life, there is an opportunity to offer a seat, to create space, to give a chance – a kindness that can have far-reaching effects beyond our immediate surroundings.


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