Dear Sabine, On Christmas Night (2005), your cousin, Ate Eya, lost her cuddly Chihuahua. "Jasper" apparently took a stroll out in the streets when everybody was busy celebrating the occasion. He is a very, very friendly dog- doesn't even bark at strangers. Ate Eya cried buckets of tears. She was unconsolable. Even you and Ate Sage couldn't stop her from crying. It also didn't help that her mother, Tita Grace, was crying with her because she treated the dog like her own son. Jasper could've been taken by one of those enterprising kids and sold for a few thousand bucks. Or he could've been road kill. Or "Pulutan" (it was Christmas.)
These didn't happen (Hey, it's the Christmas Season. I don't have the stomach to write about something that doesn't have a happy ending.) 3 days later, a stranger responded to the equivalent of an A.P.B. She said the Chihuahua followed her home on Christmas Night, 3 blocks away from home. She is a Cat lover and breeds Persian Cats. She said that Jasper got along nicely with her cats and with the other species in their household. Keeping him for herself crossed her mind but she knew that Jasper belongs to a little girl and that little girl is now crying because of her loss. Years back she also lost a persian cat and also cried an ocean before she was reunited with it after the one who found the cat decided to look for the owner.
She went to the Baranggay Hall and reported the dog she found. Hence the Reunion of Ate Eya and Jasper became possible.
A stranger empathizing with a kid who lost a pet. Hardly the stuff legends are made of. I don't think you'd see her picture in the dictionary under the entry "HERO." But you know what, that is what real heroes are.
Don't let the newspaper headlines tell you who your heroes are. Most of the time those are Press Releases paid for by the ones on the headlines. Don't let the movies and broadcast media tell you what heroes are supposed to look like. Don't let the history books tell you that heroes are GREAT PEOPLE WHO DID GREAT THINGS. If they had met Alexander (the so called "Great") those history writers, who drool over him and his achievements, would probably never like the man behind the myth since history records he was a megalomaniac- same description they use to describe Usama Bin Laden and Michael Jackson.
Simple empathy goes a long way. The girl who returned Jasper was empowered to do the right thing by her experience when she lost her own pet. She was empowered to act "heroically" by a stranger who returned her own lost Cat. Simple empathy could inspire other strangers to act above their own selfishness and pettiness.
I want you to know this because Today is national Heroes Day (DECEMBER 30, 2005)
It's not about Supermen who lived a hundred years ago or some fancy character from a galaxy a thousand light years away. This day is not just about the heroes identified in the newspapers, broadcast media, movies and history books. This day is about Real Heroes. It's about YOU. In fact, everyone you'll ever know has what it takes to be a hero without having to die for it. Just ask Ate Eya.