My Great Friend, Jimmy…altruistic to the end
By Apolinario Villalobos
When we are at the lowest ebb of our life that include days we spend in bed due to an ailment, the natural thing to do is for us to exert an effort to show our best. But there are some who make cover-ups, apprehensive that others will know their situation. By being honest, however, does not mean that help is being solicited. We can even gain respect and admiration, by showing others our endurance during such trying times. The respect and admiration, as the fruits of our effort are sweeter, than the casual reaction from others whose view of our real situation is obstructed by hypocrisy.
Jimmy was a friend who used to hold a high executive position in a trading company. Even before I started blogging, he was well-informed about my small projects in Tondo and Divisoria as he was a regular donor. We met at the Mary Johnson Hospital in Tondo many years back, where he visited a staff of his office, while I visited the daughter of a friend from Baseco compound who was confined due to dengue. His sincere friendship punctuated by his giving me his business card made me divulge to him my real identity, but implored him to keep it to himself. I explained that I do not reveal my identity to those whom I extend a little help that I could afford, so that I had been known to them by another name.
He failed to save much needed cash for his retirement because much of what he earned went to friends who sought his financial help. To make the story short, when he resigned due to a prolonged ailment, he was left with an almost depleted savings. Every time I visited him, we would talk about his friends who became successful in their jobs. His statements were always ended with “ I am thankful that they made it…”. Truth is, he had been instrumental for their success. Some were his subordinates whom he pushed with deserved promotions and guaranteed referrals. Some were given financial assistance as a start-up for a small business.
The cancer in his bones resulted to his losing weight considerably which practically changed his physical appearance. Despite the transformation, he could still muster a smile, as if nothing had changed. He was financially handicap, but he did not cover it up. When he became bedridden, the first to go was his car, followed by his studio-type condo, after which his nephew accommodated him in his home in Malabon. His wife with whom he had no child, left him for a Chinese boyfriend she met in a casino.
Jimmy gained much respect because of what he showed, aside from reaping admiration from neighbors and friends who visited him daily. The disease that physically emaciated him did not change his image that had been exuding an aura of contentment. He passed away two months ago (January 2017). After his cremation, I was invited by his nephew and his wife for a dinner at their home after which an envelope was handed to me. It contained PHP3,730.00, balance of his savings and with it was his passbook. Outside the envelope was his simply handwritten note, “God be with you always in all you do”.