On the palm of his hand was a reward he wished he did not possess.
How could it be so easy to shove someone down when an oncoming clump of motorized metal maniacally proceeded to crush its random target? The adrenaline rush had the power for a quick response to save a life from immediate demise.
“Thank you! I owe you my life!”
The words rang out inside his head like a constant reminder of his heroic deed. He was an accidental hero who was at the right place but at the wrong time. He was supposed to be attending a class at that moment.
“You have to accept this! I insist! You need only to write up to five figures on that space and withdraw the amount at the particular bank.”
The old man was crazy, he recalled. Crazy to give a total stranger something precious to most poor people like himself. The power was given him to dictate how much he thought the old man’s life was worth to him.
A hundred thousand minus a cent? Was that enough to buy back a life from Mr. Death?
The next question in his mind was what to do with the money. Will he keep them all to himself? Share with as many people as possible? Give some to charity? Splurge on a shopping binge? Gamble?
He went inside the bank and wrote out the figures: 99,999 pesos only. It looked real enough, perhaps more real when the actual denominations were on his hands.
The teller did her job to the letter.
The counting machine worked flawlessly; the crisp bills clapped in place as they touched one another.
He walked aimlessly for an hour, searching his mind for ideas, asking himself who he really was.
When he reached a familiar building, he stopped. Craning his head upwards, he finally decided what has to be done.
The old man came out of the lobby. Surprised of their second meeting, he was all smiles. His hero was present once again.
“I can’t thank you enough, young man! Tell me anything you wish to do, I will help to the best of my abilities.”
He approached him like any ordinary man meeting someone in high society: full of humility and awe.
“Sir, I want you to take this,” he handed the old man a plastic bag. “It’s yours.”
Perplexed, the old man looked inside. To his expert view, a hundred thousand worth of bills were there.
“Why?”The old man’s puzzled look needed an answer.
“I was there to save you. Save others. I know when the time comes, someone will save me, too.”