The Taxi Files Volume 1: The Frustrated Employee and the Happy Cripple

I woke up at seven in the morning. I usually prepare for work for an hour and I had to report to work at eight. That means I was already late for work.

That was the time when I really wanted to quit my day job. I was very frustrated with not being able to do what I loved to do—blogging. I wanted to leave my day job so I could focus on blogging and looking for a job as a freelancer. Do you have days like this?

So, I did what I usually do when I don’t want to go to work—delaying tactics. I read a book, watched TV, ate, ate, and ate some more, and did just about anything to avoid going to work. On some days, I even slept again! In the end, I still reported to work. Only this time, I was so much later! It was already nine and I hadn’t even prepared.

On the way to the office, while riding a cab, I complained. Inside my mind, of course. I complained about waking up early, preparing for work, and always being in a hurry just to do work I didn’t like to do. I complained about enduring the heat and traffic just to go somewhere I didn’t want to go to. It didn’t make sense.

I was really frustrated. I usually talk with cab drivers. But, that morning, I wasn’t in the mood to talk.

Yes, I was the frustrated employee.

Then, looking outside the taxi’s window, I saw a man coming down from a jeepney. He seemed slow getting off the jeepney. Then, I finally understood why. He was crippled.

He lifted himself up using his strong arms and sat on the floor of the jeepney. He turned back, got a makeshift wheelchair, put it (it looked like he simply threw it out) on the road, and carried himself towards his wheelchair. Then, he went to the sidewalk and went away. It was difficult to watch. But, he didn’t seem to mind. I didn’t even see a frown on his face the whole time, during the whole ordeal.

He was dressed nicely. It seemed like he was on his way to work himself.

My heart sank.

There I was, sitting comfortably inside an air-conditioned taxi. I thought that when I get off the taxi, I would get off like how any abled man would get off—normally. One leg out first and then the other. And I would walk away and walk towards our office building.

Yet, I was very frustrated—with my job, with going to the office, with the traffic, with my circumstances, and with where I was at. I was frustrated with myself.

And there he was, having to take the jeepney where he had to squeeze himself in just to get a seat. That wasn’t even his real struggle. He had to go to work with his disability, yet he didn’t seem to mind. It even seemed like he was thankful for what he had, his job, his life, and his circumstances.

Three things:

He made me realize how blessed I was, I just forgot it. I took everything I had for granted. I became too focused on my petty problems, especially my problems stemming from my pride, ego, and selfishness. I always have to remind myself of every blessing I have been given, big or small.

He also made me realize that I owe it to him to do my best, simply because I can do my best. Not everyone is able to walk the way I do, let alone do the work that I do.

I am privileged. We are privileged, not entitled. And with our privilege comes responsibility. We are responsible to share with others the same opportunities we were given. It’s not only by our own hands that we were able to get to where we’re at now. We were given unfair opportunities. It’s up to us to at least make things fair. That's why we have to do work that matters. 

Most importantly, he made me realize that it isn’t our circumstances that make us happy. It is how we respond to our circumstances. A crippled man can be happy despite his disabilities and an abled man can be unhappy despite being able to function normally. The same goes with the rich and the poor, the weak and the strong, the manager and the staff, the entrepreneur and the employee, and so on. 

Our feelings also do not determine our actions. Our feelings go hand in hand with our actions. If we smile, we will start feeling a lot happier, though not immediately. But, we will.

In all things, be grateful. Never take anything for granted.

It is not our right to do work that matters. It is our responsibility. 

How we act determines how we feel, not just the other way around. 


[31 Day Challenge Update] I'm up at 5:18 AM today. Is it okay if I change the rules and extend my grace period to an hour? It would go like this: I get a green score if I wake up from 4:30 AM to 5 AM, a yellow score if I wake up from 5 AM to 5:30 AM, and a red score if I wake up beyond 5:30 AM. Also, the allowable yellow score will be decreased to three. What do you think?