MANILA — “Maraming maraming salamat sa iyo.”
It’s a normal message of thanks, but perhaps one that was meant more profusely than any other, given the context of the worsening coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
It was from a woman named Salvi de Gille, a Baguio City resident who had to walk around three kilometers from a grocery to her home due to the imposed lockdown (on a knee that has been operated on mind you), to the man, dubbed an “angel on wheels,” who saved her life.
De Gille was a guest on “Magandang Buhay” this Wednesday, filmed from their homes, and she recalled how her prayers were answered at a time when she needed it the most.
She began her story by sharing that she has a bad knee — strong enough to stand on but definitely wasn’t for the hours-long trek she needed to do for the sake of her family.
Her knee began acting up, she said, just after she and her son started their long walk home from the store. Her son couldn’t really help her out during, even if he wanted to, as both of them were already carrying groceries.
Desperate, De Gille turned to powers greater than her and luckily enough, it only took about 10 minutes for a good samaritan to notice how she was close to tears because of the pain and stop for her.
Enter Raul Gerlan, the “angel on wheels.”
He was on his way to do some grocery shopping himself but he said, in the same episode of “Magandang Buhay” in which he also guested, that he could not in good conscience ignore a struggling person on the side of the road, especially in this time of crisis.
He made De Gille and her son ride at the back of his car and he took them home.
“Kung may pagkakataon po tayong tumulong, gawin natin ito habang malakas pa tayo at kaya natin …lalo na ngayon na kailangan natin maging matapang. Hindi po tayo nag-iisa sa laban na ito, sama-sama po tayo,” Gerlan said, when asked about why he decided to help a stranger.
According to De Gille, that was when she realized that Filipinos still have not lost their willingness to aid other people, despite the threat of COVID-19. “Hindi naman lahat puro takot o makasarili — mayroon pa ring nag-aalala sa iyo,” she said.
She also got the chance to thank Gerlan properly, joking that at the time she didn’t even get to see his face since he was wearing a face mask. “Now I have seen the face of my angel and isa lang ang sasabihin ko — maraming-maraming salamat at nagpagamit ka sa ating Panginoon sa oras na iyo,” she told Gerlan.
You can see De Gille's original Facebook post about it below: