by Leila Castro
What a delight to see that our social media group 204FM is being used as a tool to connect with people who deserve acknowledgement. Joey Abrillo’s post at 204FM captured many hearts and was trending at 204FM for days. There was one who commented, “We need more stories like this.”
Joey took to 204 Filipino Marketplace social media group his search for the person who helped him so he would not miss his passport renewal appointment. The Philippine Consular Outreach Team, that conducts services such as Philippine passport renewal, travels to Winnipeg only a few times in a year. Despite huge demand, only a fraction of those needing to renew their passport are accommodated. Registering for appointment is done online and all schedules get booked in just matter of hours. Joey was one of those very lucky to get a spot for the consular outreach mission last month.
On the day of his appointment, Joey arrived at the venue early but realized that something was missing in the Xpress Post envelope he was required to provide. Joey, who commutes, ran from Holiday Inn Ellice to Polo Park to purchase a new envelope. Going back in time for his appointment to was a problem, but a kababayan helped Joey.
Joey wrote, “A couple of weeks ago we went to Holiday Inn to renew our Philippine passports. One requirement was to provide an Xpress Post envelope. Our appointment was at 4:30 pm and we arrived there at around 3:00 pm. When I brought out my envelope, someone noticed that it had no signature stamp. I had no idea I needed that. I had to buy two and the nearest Canada Post was at Shoppers Drug Mart inside Polo Park Mall. It was almost 4:00 pm. There was no taxi around so I had to walk to the mall. It rained and my envelopes got damaged.
When I was at Shoppers, I was quite wet. I fell in line and waited for my turn. I was worried I wouldn’t make it back on time. I noticed that the lady in front of me was a Filipina and I assumed she was buying the same envelope for passport renewal purposes. Desperate, I talked to her and asked if she would be going back to Holiday Inn and if she was, I asked if it was okay for me to hitch a ride. And she agreed.
To cut the story short, I made it on time and I’m happy to say that there are still kind Filipinos or Pinoy Canadians around who are willing to help their kababayan in need. No crab mentality here.
Sorry I forgot your names, but thank you so much, to you and your husband. I hope your mom was able to process her passport. And thank you, to the ones who pointed out my missing signature stamp.”
Aila Barte was the Good Samaritan that Joey was referring to. She was tagged to Joey’s post by Lito Canlas. In the same thread, Aila thanked Lito (and Yolly Canlas) for being instrumental in booking the appointment for the former’s mom.
From time to time, similar random acts of kindness posts surface at 204 Filipino Marketplace. Sometimes it is a found wallet or card or phone, where 204 Filipino Marketplace is used as a tool to locate the owner. Posts like these that show the bayanihan spirit in our community make me a very proud Filipino in Canada.
204 Filipino Marketplace or 204FM is the social media group of a huge Filipino Community in Manitoba. I am one of the admins of this FB group where an estimated 30,000 Manitoba based Filipinos are connected.