Tuesday, April 29, 2008

The value of 8,000 rupiah

It was about 7 o’clock in the Monday evening last week. I was in public bus queuing its turn to depart for Bogor from Cawang, Jakarta. The bus was quite full with passengers -- most of them are like me, going home after a whole day work in Jakarta. I used to get express electric train from Cawang station but I was unlucky because the train left me behind. Truly my fault, I arrived a little bit late at the station.

So, I used bus to Bogor. While waiting, I tried to find something to read. A newspaper might entertain me and it’s easy to find street vendors selling newspaper, offering us --the passengers— newspapers and magazines. OK, I then bought Kompas Update. It’s a ‘pseudo-evening newspaper’ because it only has four pages of today’s news. The rest of it is yesterday’s. But with the price only 1,000 rupiah, it’s a good deal, anyway.

That was the moment when I saw a young boy. He is about 10-12 years old, I’m not sure. He brought a basket of mineral water bottles with him, came into the bus from front door. When he reached my seat, I asked him for a bottle of Aqua; 2,000 rupiah. His eyes turned brighter, and quickly gave me what I looked for.

I gave him 10,000 rupiah. I never thought that it’s a large denomination. But then I saw him struggling to find change money for me from his pockets. I felt he was a little bit nervous, knowing me, as his customer, waiting for the change.

“I’m really sorry you have to wait, Sir. But don’t worry, I have your change,” he smiled, shy. His face was flushed. “No, no hurry, take your time,” I replied. He found several worn out thousand rupiah notes and started counting. I clearly saw how he seemed really blessed with any purchase he got from passengers.

During that time, he told me what would the money for. “I must pay my final exam cost, Sir,” he said. He is now at the final year of primary school. With examination will take place next week, this young boy doesn’t want to burden his mother with money problem. He took chance selling the drinking waters from one to another bus.

I had a mix feeling in that moment. The young boy is struggling for his future, counting every cent to cover his need. Something touched my emotion was that this boy doing his job without any complaints. Suddenly I remembered an Andy Williams’s old song “Rain drops keep falling on my head”. “….Cause I’ll never gonna stop the rain by complainin’…”

“Take the change for you,” suddenly I said. He watched my eyes without blink. “Take the change. But you must promise to study hard at school. Agree?”

He quickly nodded. “I promise, I promise. Thank you very much, Sir” he said with a huge, huge smile. In the same time, driver’s assistant shouted to passengers, announced the bus was ready to go to Bogor. I saw the young boy jumped out from the bus, smiled to me, and jumped into another bus behind.

What an inspiring moment. I only gave that boy 8,000 rupiah but his eyes’ bright, smile and spirit told me how blessed he was with it. I hope he’ll be fine and pass his exam. I pray for him, from my deepest heart.

1 comment:

Bob McKerrow said...


This is truly a heart warming story. I am sure the boy is genuine and the 8000 Rs will be a bug help. We have to share our treasures more to the poor.

Have a good weekend.