Written by Patricia Pineda Santos
In my flight was a girl in her twenties travelling alone who boarded the aircraft in a wheelchair. Initially, I cannot tell what happened to her. I just know that she moves slowly and needs support when standing (parang nanghihinang katawan but no obvious injury).
Mid flight we experienced moderate turbulence. She then asked me to sit beside her and hold her hand all through out. She told me all about the medicines that she needs for just-in-case scenarios and so I made sure to memorize them all. In cases like this you make sure that you divert the passenger’s mind to something very far from the turbulence. It was not very hard to do so because she is just my age and a very cheerful girl despite her weakness. So, while I was holding her hand, I asked her why she was travelling alone. She then told me her story.
Nobody but one friend knew that she was travelling to Boracay at that time. And she said that despite her weakness she pushed for it because.. “Lalabas na yung results ko sa Monday kung may cancer ako. Gusto kong makapag travel mag isa bago ko malaman.”
You couldn’t imagine the mix of emotions I had when she said that. I was sad but at the same time amazed by this young brave joyful girl who is practically a stranger.
From there, I just kept on listening to her and held her tighter because sometimes even if you wish, you don’t have the power to change things for people, but you have the ability to listen to them, be there for them and just hold their hand in the turbulence that occur in their life.
I still wonder up to this day if she got the tissue note I secretly slipped in her bag. I wanted her to be surprised when she sees it randomly which I can only hope will bring smile to her face. I said on the note how much she inspired me with her strength and her positive outlook in life.