I had lunch today at the hawker centre near OG People’s Park. Just a bowl of sliced fish porridge.
I barely had two spoonfuls of the porridge when a granny, with a weathered face and a hunched back, walked over hesitantly.
She did not approach diners though she held out three packets of tissue paper. It was as though she was afraid of being scolded so she stayed a respectful (and fearful?) distance away from us.
She was about to walk past me without so much as bringing her tissue packets close to the table I was seated at. I was both surprised and concerned.
I reached for my wallet, fearful that I may be the only one to buy tissues from granny since the start of the day.
I took out $10, folded it into quarters and pressed the note into her palm. Her face lit up with a smile though she said nothing.
Perhaps she thought I could only understand English and she couldn’t communicate with me.
(She did give me one extra packet of tissue. 😀 )
And so I ate… with 4 packets of tissue on my table. And as I ate, I reflected on how blessed my life has been.
Though there have been trying times, and ups-and-downs, I didn’t have to try to sell tissue paper to people who appear disinterested about my presence.
I watched as granny walked away. Hopefully I gave her renewed confidence in the kindness of strangers. I watched her hunched back and the two bags she shouldered. And I felt overwhelmed.
What would it feel like to be at her age and still trying to eke out a living in a sometimes heartless world?
I very much want to be in the position to give granny $50 and not ‘feel the pinch’. I very much want to see her eyes widen in amazement. I very much want to tell her to go home and rest her weary feet and have a warm meal as I’d like to buy all her tissues.
So yes, I want to do all that one day.
I want to make more $ and continue eating at hawker centres. 🙂
Later in the evening, I went to Orchard Central to meet an advertiser. On my way back to the MRT station, I met another old granny selling tissue.
Like the granny in the afternoon, she was a most passive ‘salesperson’. She stood in the shadows as the crowd passed by.
I stopped, got $10 out of my wallet and she repeatedly said “no change, no change” worriedly.
I put the money into her palm and told her “It’s ok” and slowly walked away to show her I didn’t want any change. The smile she gave me was enough.
Tonight, I’ll go to bed knowing that to the world, I may be just one person. But to two grannies today, I may be that person who made a world of difference as to how their day turned out.
My friends, the next time you see a granny selling tissue, please give her whatever spare change you have. Let no granny have to go hungry or be ignored on our watch. Good night! 🙂
*A previous post I did about a granny selling tissue at Tiong Bahru: click HERE.