Essay

Thieves could be freshly bathed

As usual, motorcyclists from Ayala going to Capitol through Escario went forward, even as the traffic light at the Gorordo intersection went red. I stayed put, because I am generally a law-abiding citizen (keyword: generally). One of the red light beaters dropped an umbrella at the middle of the intersection. Two dirty street children, among those who spend their entire days in that part, rushed to recover the umbrella. I even had to caution them to wait for the traffic to subside a little so that they could retrieve it safely.
After they retrieved it, a man around his late 20s, freshly bathed, with nicely pressed uniform bearing the name of a company located in a known business district, probably going to his office to earn today more than the minimum wage, asked the children to turn over to him the umbrella. Initially I thought he was going to turn over the umbrella to the traffic enforcer a little bit down the road, because that is the legal thing to do. I did not expect the children to do that, because an umbrella is useful to them, either for their own use against the elements (because I know that they sleep by the road side), or converted to cash by selling it at a very low price to a passerby. Okay, I admit I am prejudiced that those street children won’t turn over the umbrella to an authority, which is what is mandated by law. I am also prejudiced that a decent-looking man would know the proper thing to do, which is to turn over the local authorities a thing lost and found.
But the decent-looking man went the other way, and did not turn over the umbrella to an authority. I doubt if he is going to turn it over to the Office of the Mayor later in the day, because if he would not turn it over to a Cebu City Traffic Office (CCTO) enforcer a few meters away from him, what would make him turn it over to an office kilometers away from his? I also doubt if he knew that motorcyclist personally, because as far as I had observed, he was not in position to witness the fall of that umbrella, and could not have known who dropped the umbrella.
Indeed, thieves could be freshly bathed, with nicely pressed clothes, earning more than the minimum wage.

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