Jollibee V. Luna 2
By Virginia J. Pasalo
I WAS waiting for my pancakes to be served when my attention was caught by a conversation from the adjacent table:
“O, heto, isangdaan, ayan ha, magpakabait ka. Bumili ka ng pagkain mo.” (O, here is 100 pesos, be good. Buy yourself some food.)
I expected the boy’s face to show a hint of joy, but the expression was blank. He took the money and went to the counter. After a few minutes, he came back.
“Tinatanong po nila, ano po daw order ko?” (They are asking me, what is my order?)
“Mag-order ka nang gusto mo.” (Order what you like.)
He did not move. Sensing his confusion, the lady decided for him.
“Sabihin mo, Chicken Joy breakfast meal.” (Tell them, Chicken Joy breakfast meal.)
He did not move still. I could see his lips mumbling the last two words, and the lady, realizing he was having a difficult time memorizing, simplified her instructions.
“Basta sabihin mo Chicken Joy na may kanin.” (Just tell them, Chicken Joy with rice).
Finally, his eyes brightened a bit, and he ran off to the counter. When he came back, he carried with him a box, which he laid on the table, smiling.
“Oh, no, why did they give him chicken wing? That is the area where they inject antibiotics and hormones. Let me get him the thigh part. Waiter!”
But before the waiter was able to respond, a large portion of the chicken wing was already being chewed in his mouth. The man with whom the lady was having a meeting with, waved the waiter away.
“Let him enjoy his meal. So do we approve the purchase of T-shirts for this event? We can charge it under this budget item, miscellaneous.”
Pointing to the paper on the table, he tried to divert her attention from the boy gobbling his food, with rice grains on the edges of his mouth. As soon as he noticed that he was being watched, the boy chewed very slowly, so slow in fact that it appeared to me that whatever he chewed remained in his mouth and was not being swallowed.
“We have to make our decision today, there is not much time, we need to order by this afternoon for the T-shirts to be ready by Friday.”
“Kung hindi mo maubos, pabalot mo na ha?” (If you cannot finish it, have it wrapped, okay?”
The boy suddenly got up and took his box. He was just so relieved to move away. He did not say thank you, his face brightened, as if he was released from a most uncomfortable situation. He did not go to the counter, he proceeded straight to the door, almost running. The man meeting with the lady was visibly relieved, and persisted with the same question.
“So do we approve of this proposal?”
Just as when the lady was focusing on the document, another boy stood in front of her.
“Gusto ko rin po ng Chicken Joy na may kanin.” (I also want Chicken Joy with rice).
The lady pulled out a 20-peso bill and dismissed him quickly. The boy reluctantly moved away. Outside the door, five more boys jostled to get in, but they were restrained by the guard.
“Sabihin mo sa mga kasama mo, wala na akong maibibigay sa kanila!” (Tell your companions, I do not have anything more to give them!)
She looked at me, and my untouched pancake. Then she quickly diverted her eyes to the document on her table.
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