Appreciate the Underappreciated

Be grateful for what you have and what's right there in front of you.

Appreciate the Underappreciated

I was on a bus heading downtown, chilling at my seat reading a book that I just bought from my regular bookstore. Around me were a mixture of cozy and bored commuters, all itching for the destination that will come eventually. Until then, we were either reading, getting some eye shut, or periodically checking messages and interacting on social media with our smartphones—an ubiquitous addiction in our modern age.

I can’t think how long I’ve been on the bus as it trundled from stop to stop, picking up and alighting passengers. Then, this particular scene caught my attention.

So this young lady boarded the bus last and I remembered she had bags of stuff clasped at the end of each hand. She immediately slumped heavily in the empty seat at the front, seemed almost to fall into it. At that instant, the bus driver stepped from his seat, took a gander at the lady, and without saying a word, signaled for her to get off her seat. There was this seriousness about him that was pretty much unnerving. The lady was indubitably puzzled—and so were the rest of us onlookers. Nonetheless, she complied with the request, and then the driver, using one arm, calmly reached from behind her toward her seat.

In a fraction of a second, his hand had reappeared, holding a cell phone that was apparently left behind by a passenger. And it was as if the sun had shone through the dark storm clouds, revealing that tiny sliver of blue sky. The driver’s intent was irrevocably understood. He exited the vehicle pronto, darted toward a middle-aged woman, who had just alighted and appeared to be rummaging through her handbag, whilst calling out and waving the cell phone at her. The cell phone had found its owner, who’s now wearing a radiant smile, thanking the observant and honest driver profusely.

What a wonderful driver.

The Unsung Heroes.

There are seemingly insignificant people in life; people that support our existence but rarely get a second thought amidst our desire for better working and living lifestyles. People like the postman who delivers your mail on time, rain or shine; the cleaner who keeps your living surroundings spick-and-span, stopping germs in their nasty tracks; and the mentioned bus driver who went above and beyond his duty of transporting you to your destination safely.

“The significance is hiding in the insignificant. Appreciate everything.”

—Eckhart Tolle

People don’t have to come up with groundbreaking ideas or have profound impacts on the world to earn an appreciation. Many a time, these deserving people don’t end up grabbing the headlines. And we don’t give much thought to them because we don’t notice or feel a need to be grateful.

Appreciation is feeling the beauty around you.

The sky is blue, and you’ve stopped noticing the beautiful wildflowers that bloomed only a few days ago. The scene is perfect but quite untreasured until the rain comes.

Appreciation is a priceless gift that makes people feel great. It will only take you a tiny moment to show your appreciation, but it could really make a real difference to that someone. Smile at the people who serve you. Write a hand-written thank you note to your colleagues. Compliment your friends on a skill or strength you admire. Give a warm, intimate hug to your loved ones.

And this brings to my mind about a group of the most underappreciated people: Parents.

Don’t wait for the empty chair.

My parents smile from the old, faded photographs, full of the promise of youth. Mom stands in her wedding gown, modest by today’s standards, simple yet elegant. Dad poses proudly, in his sharp-looking suit, holding the hand of his beautiful dame. That was before. Before the skirmish to keep a roof over me and my sibling’s heads and put food on the table. Before the sacrifice of self-interest on a daily basis to help us grow up.

There is no doubt my parents do more for us than they have to. Unconditionally. We must never complain about what they couldn’t give. It was probably all they had. I know that their wisdom might not hold any relevance in today’s fast changing world, but their experience, their countless sacrifices, and endless support deserve all our honor and respect.

Empty Chairs

Our parents deserve to be appreciated. Start being grateful. Start showing them how much all that they do for us means to us. Tell them you love them. Instead of watching TV, spend some quality time with them. Share your achievements with them. Apologize for any of your mistakes. Shelter them from problems just like they do for you. Appreciate them before you see their empty chair.

I love you, Mom & Dad. Happy Parents Day!

Today? You ask. No, every day.

P.S. Commendation for the driver was submitted to the bus company (SBS Transit) on 12 Apr.

“I Appreciate”

We believe that the positive energy of appreciation is contagious, and so we encourage you to openly express your kind words.

So if you appreciate someone, don’t keep it a secret. Don’t let the unsung heroes go unnoticed. Share it, and most importantly, tell them about it!