Fifteen seconds after the waitress took our family photo, the table next to us started screaming.
Then came the commotion. An old man was choking—and his daughter, who was around my age, was helplessly crying for help.
"Dad? Dad!! Someone please, please help Dad!"
My brother-in-law rushed in and started performing the Heimlich maneuver. My dad rushed in to assist him. After a few seconds, a young woman from the other side of the room ran to the table to help, too. Someone shouted, "Mga doktor sila, tabi tayo, tabi!", and the crowd parted like the Red Sea.
All eyes were on the four of them. Kuya, thrusting; dad and the woman, helping.
My baby nephew started crying. People were holding on to each other. And I was standing in the corner, whispering a quiet prayer.
Finally, the man was rescued. The restaurant fell silent. Then, from his chair, he stood beside his three heroes and looked up to them. Grinning.
Someone from the room started clapping slowly. Then followed a chorus of applause. And as if that wasn't enough, a standing ovation.
Tonight, I witnessed three selfless heroes save a stranger's life. And I was reminded that amidst all the selfishness and violence in this world,
Love and kindness,
like the roots of a tree slowly winning its battle against concrete sidewalk,
love and kindness still prevail.
August 4, 2016