It’s been a hellish few days for thousands of commuters after the LRT-2 closed three of its stations due to a fire that gutted the line last week. But rather than throwing up their hands, some people are helping out, including one motorbike taxi driver who has gone viral for offering free rides to students.
The habal-habal driver, named Michael “Mike” Vinuya, was the subject of a Facebook post written by Far Eastern University student Modrea Reyes that started making the rounds on Monday.
Reyes wrote: “He willingly helps students by driving them to [C]ubao station for free… He said he doesn’t want students to be late and also this would be his good deed so the Lord will cure his son, Marcus, who has been in the hospital for 3 days.”
“I insisted on paying him or even opening a fund raising account for their hospital bills, but he rejected me multiple times. He said all he wants is a prayer for his son,” Reyes wrote in her post, which has been shared almost 1,200 times.
In an interview with Coconuts Manila on Facebook, Reyes said she saw Mike on Monday near the LRT-2’s Santolan station in Pasig City at about 8:30am.
“I was in a queue, waiting for my turn to enter the bus that was provided by the LRT,” Reyes said in Filipino and English. “The traffic was terrible and the line of people going inside the bus was very long. Then I saw him and there was this sign taped on his bike that said he was giving free rides to students. I asked him if he could help me out; I showed him my [student’s] ID, then he drove me to Cubao.”
Coconuts Manila was able to track down Mike on Facebook, and he told us that his 5-year-old son Marcus Vinuya had been sick with pneumonia for several days. He said he thought of offering free rides to students because it was his way of showing his gratitude to his organization, called The Associates, which offered to pay for his son’s medical bills. The group, he said, is composed of former Philippine Military Academy cadets, just like himself.
“Instead of me earning money during the morning rush hours… I chose to give one to two free rides during school days, which I started on Oct. 7, Monday. I will continue to do this until the last day of October,” he said in English and Filipino.
It looks like everything worked out in the end. In a Facebook post that appeared on Tuesday, Mike announced that Marcus had been released from the hospital and thanked everyone who prayed for him.
Have you heard of other people helping out commuters? Tell us by leaving a comment below or tweeting to @CoconutsManila
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