So, it’s been exactly 19 days since I’ve started working. I take the train to work and walk from the station to my office. For the past 19 days, I walked pass an old nenek (grandma). She looks really frail, petite and old. I’ve always wanted to approach her but I was scared that she might not react positively to me. Then last week I saw another employee from Maybank talking to her. She seemed really friendly to that woman. 

Last Friday, I saw her sitting at the usual place and she smiled at me when I looked at her. I stopped to talk to her. I was super early, anyways. She was so warm and welcoming despite the condition she was in. She said “selamat pagi” (good morning) and gestured me to sit and she touched my shoulders. I felt a choke in my throat. So I had a small chat with her and she was more than happy to answer my questions. 

Me: Nenek dari mana? Saya selalu nampak nenek dekat sini.
       Where are you from? I always see you sitting here.

Nenek: Saya dari Gombak. Saya duduk sini minta sedekah. Saya dah tua, manalah boleh kerja.
            I’m from Gombak. I always come here to beg for money. I’m old. I can’t work. 

Me: Nenek takde keluarga ke?
       Don’t you have a family?  

Nenek: Ada. Anak saya seorang. Suami dia dah lari, anak dia masih kecil lagi, dia kena jaga anak kat rumah. Saya datang sini hari-hari cari duit, lepas tu pergi Chow Kit beli barang dapur. Beli beras, ikan satu, satu keluarga makan. 
           I do. I have a daughter. Her husband ran away when she was pregnant. Her baby’s still small, so she can’t leave the baby and work. I come here always to beg for some money, and then I head to Chow Kit to buy some groceries. I buy a fish and the whole family eats with it. 

Me: *trying hard to control my emotions* Ohhh..yeke…
        Oh..I see. 

Nenek: Sini selalu ada orang bagi duit. Ada yang hari hari bagi duit. Terima kasih la kamu sanggup duduk sini, cakap dengan nenek. 
            There are always people here, giving me some money. Some give me everyday. Thank you for your willingness to sit here and talk to me. 

The nenek then looked at me and saw The Sun paper I was holding and said..
Nenek: The Sun. 

Me: Nenek tau baca? Pandailah nenek.
      You know how to read? You’re smart…

Nenek: Eh, saya pergi sekolah dulu la…..
            eh, I’ve been to a school before la…

Me: baguslah nenek ni! 
       You’re good! 

She laughed. And then we continued talking and she asked where I worked and how young I was. She even said “Semoga Allah beri kamu kesihatan yang baik”. May Allah grant you good health. That was one of the nicest things a stranger has ever said to me. It was all I needed to kick start a day. 

Before I left for office, I gave her some money and she was more than happy to take it. 

Nenek: Alhamdulillah! Alhamdulillah. Terima kasih banyak banyak. (OK. Don’t over react, I’m just repeating what she said to me)
            Thank God. Thank God…Thank you so much! 

She then kissed the note I gave her and said bye to me. 

Well, I don’t earn thousands yet but I think small gestures like this may mean the world to someone. I can’t change the world and I can’t help everyone. But I try. I do what I can and it makes me sleep better at night knowing that I did a small part in making the world a better place. 


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