This is a true story. I swear to it and would take a lie detector test if needed.
I think I found a rip in the space time continuum that let me travel to a parallel universe inside an MRT station.
I was travelling to see a buddy of mine and decided to take the MRT. Jam packed and unable to see the station name, I missed my station.
I got off and headed to the station office to explain the situation and pay the remaining fee, so I could get back to the station I wanted to reach. Having explained it to the office, they told me “dont worry, just get back on the train on the other platform and get off at the right station, no need to pay anything”.
For the first time ever, I was the one who gave a blank stare. Ok, great.
I got off at the right station (the one I bought the ticket for) but I was lost again. DAMNIT!
After managing to find Robinsons Mall, I asked the police outpost for directions. They were unsure and hurriedly whisked me inside their outpost where they checked a map on the table. After radioing for correct directions, they told me how to get there.
I discreetly pulled out 200 pesos so no one could see except the cops and told them that I would like to buy them McDonalds as they had helped me so much and I really appreciated. “No need” said the officer in charge, “it’s what we’re here for”.
All smiles, we parted and I went on my way as they waved goodbye.
“What the fuck is going on here” I muttered under my breath.
By this point I was truly sick of walking and just wanted to get there and back. I saw a cab in traffic and gestured for him to to take us. He waved us towards his cab and we jumped in.
I have rarely had a good cab experience and it always seems to be bad when it starts by jumping in a cab in traffic with no negotiations at all.
We got to our destination and I gave him the meter fare, plus P50.
The driver handed me a piece of paper. “what is this” I asked. “your receipt he replied” I gave another blank stare, utterly speechless. “Are you kidding me”, I asked, going on to explain that in 4 years the only receipt I ever received in a cab was when I went to Hong Kong. “You should always get a receipt” the driver told me.
This was getting way too weird. Knowing I wouldnt be long and taking a chance I asked the cab driver if he wanted to wait for me as I would be less than 30 minutes and I would happily buy him a McDonalds as that is where we had parked. He agreed.
It is a complete nightmare getting a cab back to my house, so if he was willing to wait, I was more than happy to reward him for it.
45 minutes later and I was ready to go. The cab driver was waiting for me and I handed him his chicken, rice and a drink. “Thank you”, he remarked.
So we were back on the madness of the roads with the meter running without me having to ask that it was turned on.
I gave him instructions on which route to take, but he said he knew a faster way that would be cheaper “You’re the boss” I said, “you know the roads better than I do”.
He took a turn and I told him I would have gone a different route. I had never been this way before and was franticly texting my friend to give him the cab details, convinced I would be taken down a side street and shot at any moment.
The driver had taken a wrong turn, it was not a shortcut and was a longer way. I really didn’t care, I just wanted to get home.
“Don’t worry” the cab driver said, “just pay me what you think it is worth”. Yea, I heard that one before when the driver refused to turn the meter on. “Here we go” I thought to myself.
As we arrived home, the driver told me “just pay me what you usually pay for the same route, it was my fault that we took a wrong turn and the meter was higher than it should have been”.
At this point my brain was seriously going into meltdown trying to figure out what was happening. Was he genuinely nice or pretending to be to lull me into a false sense of security.
We arrived back at the house and the meter was around P550 which is normal for that route. I took my receipt from him, handed him P650, thanked him and got out the cab.
“WAIT” he yelled in panic, “you gave me too much sir”
“No I didn’t, I gave you what you rightfuly earned” I replied.
I got back inside my house and turned to my partner and asked “Did that just fucking happen? Did I imagine it? Did we take some weird reality altering drugs? What the fuck just happened?”
I was tempted to pull the curtains open to see if Rod Serling was stood in the shadows giving his closing monologue. “A simple trip into the city for a couple, experiencing what they never thought possible in the Twilight Zone”
The next day I called his employer who was listed on the receipt to report him. The operator on the other end sounded nervous as if I was complaining. I explained the entire situation and told her that he was such an honest driver, he was the best I had ever experiend in my entire 4 years here. She knew him well and agreed that he was a very honest person. “If you would ever like a tour of our facility, please do let us know and you will always be welcome” she said.
I have always referred to this day as my Twilight Zone Experience. It was as if for half a day, I slipped into an alternate reality where corruption was replaced by honesty.
To this day I have the receipt on my fridge door to remind me that there are some good people. Granted, not many, but they do exist. Things can be so fucking tough living here, but there is a ray of hope, sadly not a big enough one to bring enlightenment to the country, but at least I was able to experience it when it did happen.Published in