I have had many a great blessings this year and towards its end, I get to thinking how I have my plans for my life and how it is turning up for me..

Sometimes, pondering makes you sad. There are things that are uncontrollable, and you might end up miserable. But then, life happens.

A couple of days ago, after this short depressing pondering that I did, I took an Uber to meet with my mom and sister. I was handing them some fresh seafood we received as a gift and a new fancy rice cooker. I was still quite beat from the bad thoughts that still linger in my head when I was taken by surprise by a sudden turnout of events.

I usually text the driver informing him which building I'm currently at or whether I'm sitting by the clubhouse of the area; and when I do, I usually use local tongue. I didn't notice that this guy was actually a foreigner.

When he arrived, seeing I had some heavy belongings, he got out of the car and popped the trunk and assisted me with my stuff. I quickly apologised that I wasn't aware he was a foreigner as I didn't notice the name on his profile before I sent the message. His name was Fawaz.

He had this mild mannered voice and a warm smile plastered on his face. I thought to myself, this is going to be a nice conversation. It is always happy to talk to a happy person! ..and I love happy conversations with random people!

I asked him if he knew a bit of Tagalog, and he responded coyly with "Konti po". It quickly became an interesting conversation after that. I asked short questions and he responded with short statements too. I was thinking maybe he didn't prefer the conversation during the ride, so I just stopped talking. But then, he started the conversation, telling me about how much he thinks he is unlucky in Manila.

He is a Syrian and his family is in the Capitol. There is war that has been going on for 5 years now and everything was expensive where they live so he left to try and make a better living. He has spent millions investing in different businesses, but he said that most of them don't earn that much. He used to stay with his shop, but since buyers don't come easy, he thought that he might as well drive so that his time can also be monetised.

I asked several questions, and rest assured, this guy has done everything he can in order to survive and earn a little bit more for his family. All of his stories were about unfortunate things and how death is a part of everyday life in Syria and how he lost one of his well loved friends when a bomb just fell on him one day. I wonder to myself, then, why are you still smiling??

With our several minutes of riding together towards my destination, I wanted to say to myself, I have a multitude of things to be thankful for. What was it again that made me sad? And why is this man still smiling? I couldn't say it out loud how grateful I am that there is no war here in the Philippines and that I don't have to go through everything he's done / seen so far.

He said. I am not as lucky as you.

I start to genuinely worry about him and his welfare. I said to myself, I am blessed, and this is why I was given something to pray for in 2016. And you know what I asked him last before we parted?

So, are you eyeing on bringing your family here so that they'd all be safe and you'll all be together again? He said, "Oh no, no. They don't know I'm here. I don't think they would want to live here. Back there, we are rich. I don't want them to know I am just a driver here".

What was it again I was feeling sorry for? How come I missed all the happiness that God has put all around me? I should be ashamed, and I am. I really am.

I told him, "With all of the unfortunate stories you've told me, I still hope that you are having a happy holiday season for yourself." And he was genuinely thankful. He said, "I understand the surprise when you see me come out of the car earlier. You usually get to export workers, not import them".

And with our depart, I told him: "You are a good man. I will pray for you for more blessings in 2016". And, I will. This is what I pray for for 2016. This is for Fawaz, an industrious, persevering, hopeful man trying to survive and earn for his family.

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