The Stranger who fed us Xiao Long Bao

FB_IMG_1499664496140Our sumptuous meal at Hang Zhou Xiao Long Bao Restaurant in Taipei | Image credit: Trix Tuazon

 “We’ll meet you on your first day in Taipei. David will treat you to lunch. He googled the best xiao long bao restaurant in town.”

That was my friend on the messenger. We occasionally chat before Trix and I left for Taipei for a brief holiday. We talked about food and where to go around the city. She would update me about the weather as it had been raining there for almost a week prior to our trip. And she would tell David about us.

We met David during our trip to Taipei. He is my good friend’s employer for five years now. He has been to the Philippines before to attend the wedding of my friend’s sister in our hometown in Cagayan Valley, who was also his caregiver before she went to Canada. He considered them as family.

Early morning on his way to work thirteen years ago, David figured in a motorcycle accident which injured his spine. On that ill-fated day, his wife was on a plane to the US and cannot come back to Taipei until three days after. He has been wheelchair-bound since then. Even so, he did not harbor bitterness in his heart and has long since forgiven the drunk driver who caused his mishap. Before the accident, he worked briefly with the air force, became part of the National Security Bureau and was tending to a family business. His wife is a head nurse in a hospital nursing facility. His eldest son lives near their home and the other son is a new doctor who studied in the US. Because of continuous therapy and a cheerful spirit, he recovered well and can now stand and walk using his wheelchair as support. God’s grace to him was sufficient. At times, he would treat caregivers in the nursing home to lunch or dinner and he would still attend social events with his friends and former colleagues. I asked him if he travels a lot before his accident. He shook his head and said that back then he was a very busy man and all he did was to work. After the incident that significantly affected his mobility, he realizes that there is more to life than burying himself to work. And so today he travels a lot around Taiwan in his wheelchair. David cheerfully faces his Goliath every day, taking his ordeal as a reminder that life, indeed, is beautiful.

FB_IMG_1500630255263.jpgDavid (in red shirt and cap) with his friends at Fu Mountain in Yilan, Taiwan | Image credit: Ginaflor Arao

FB_IMG_1500875915614.jpg David’s Maokong Gondola experience in Taipei | Image credit: Ginaflor Arao

FB_IMG_1500875762529.jpgAt Sun Moon Lake in Yuchi, Nantou, Taiwan | Image credit: Ginaflor Arao

FB_IMG_1500630398631.jpgDavid during his visit to Sun Moon Lake in Yuchi, Nantou, Taiwan. His wheelchair serves as his support for walking. | Image credit: Ginaflor Arao

20170622_131719.jpg“Love and kindness are never wasted. They always make a difference. They bless the one who receives them, and they bless you, the giver.” -Barbara de Angelis |Image credit: Trix Tuazon

Against the prying eyes of some diners, as we ate our sumptuous meal at Hang Zhou restaurant, which by the way consists of a variety of 11 dishes, I was amazed at how someone whom we just met that day can be so generous to us. Aside from his generosity, I see no trace of resentment; just a happy and contented soul.

This is one of those rare encounters when travel dispels cynicism. The world is full of strangers and as there has been much discord in many parts of the world today, we are often quick to pass judgement and we usually doubt the goodness that could come from people we do not know. Yet, occasionally, we do receive unexpected kindness from strangers. Sometimes, they even teach us valuable life lessons.

One of these strangers fed us xiao long bao. —

 

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