Somewhere in Milaor, Camarines Sur, Philippines there lived a fourth grader boy named Andoy who would follow this route to school everyday. He has to cross the rugged plains and cross the dangerous highway where vehicles are recklessly driving to and from. Once passed this highway the boy would take a short cut by passing by the church every morning just to say hi to Jesus, and faithfully say his, "magandang umaga po" (good morning) in Bicol dialect.
A priest, who was so happy to find innocence so uplifting in the morning, was faithfully watching the boy. "Kamusta Andoy! Papasok ka na?" (How are you Andoy? Are you going to school?)
"Opo padre..." (Yes, father) he would flash his innocent grin, the priest would be touched.
The priest was so concerned that one day he talked to Andoy, "from school," he advised, "do not cross the highway, you can pass through the church and I can accompany you to the other side of the road. That way I can see that you are home safe." "Thank you father." "Why don't you go home? Why do you stay in this church right after school?"
"I just want to say 'hi' to my friend, Jesus."
The priest would leave the boy to spend time beside the altar, talking by himself, but the priest hid behind the altar to listen to what this boy has to say to his heavenly father.
"You know my math exam was pretty bad today, but I did not cheat - although my seatmate is bullying me for notes... I ate one cracker and drank my water. Itay (dad) had a bad season and all I can eat is this cracker. Thank you for this! I saw a poor kitten that was hungry and I know how he feels so I gave my last cracker to him... Funny but I am not that hungry. Look, this is my last pair of slippers... I may have to walk barefooted next week... You see this is about to be broken. But it is okay at least I am still going to school... Some say we will have a hard season this year and some of my classmates have already stopped going to school. Please help them get back to school again, please Jesus?... Oh, you know, inay (mom) had hit me again, it is painful, but I know this pain will pass away; at least I still have a mother... Jesus, you want to see my bruises? I know you can heal them... here... here and.... oh... blood ... I guess you knew about this one huh? Please don't be mad at inay (mom). She is just tired and she worries for the food in our table and my schooling that is why she hits us... Oh, I think I am in love ... There's this pretty girl in my class, her name is Anita ... Do you think she will like me? Anyway, at least I know you will always like me, I don't have to be anybody just to please you, you are my very best friend! Hey your birthday is three months from now! Aren't you excited? I am! Wait till you see my gift for you.... But it is a surprise! I hope you will like it! Oops, I have to go..." then he stood up and calls out, "padre, padre, (Father, Father) I am finished talking to my friend. You can accompany me to the other side of the road now."
Everyday this routine happens without fail for Andoy. Father Agaton shares this every sunday to the people in his church because he has not seen a very pure faith and trust in Jesus, a very positive look at negative situations.
One Christmas day, Father Agaton was sick so he could not make it to church, he was sent to the hospital. The church was left to 4 manangs (elders) who would chant the rosary in 1000 miles per hour would not smile and always find fault in what you do.
They are also very well versed in cursing if you irritate them! They were kneeling, saying their kilometric rosary when Andoy, coming from his Christmas party, playfully dashed in, "Hello Jesus!"
"p---! (a curse) bata ka! Alam mo nang may nagdadasal dito! Alis!" (Kid, we are praying here, get out!)
Poor Andoy was so terrified, "where's Father Agaton? He is supposed to help me cross the street.... And to be able to cross the street I will have to pass by this church ... Not only that, I have to greet Jesus. Today is his birthday and I have a gift right here."
Just as he was about to get the gift out of his shirt, one manang (elder) pulled his shirt and threw him out of the church. "susmaryosep! (does a sign of the cross fervently) alis kang bata ka, kung hindi matatamaan ka!" (Go away or I'll hit you!)
So the boy had no choice but to cross the dangerous side of the road in front of the church. He crossed. There was a blind curve. A fast moving bus came in. The boy was protecting his gift inside his shirt, so he was not looking. There was so little time. The bus hit Andoy and he died on the spot. A lot of people crowded the lifeless body of the young boy.
Then suddenly, out of nowhere a tall man wearing a white shirt and pants, a face so mild and gentle, but with eyes full of tears. He came and lifted the boy in his arms and he was crying.
The curious bystanders nudged the man in white, and asked, "excuse me sir, are you related to this child? Do you know this child?"
The man, his face mourning and in agony answered, "he was my best friend."
He took the badly wrapped gift in the bloody chest of Andoy and placed it near his heart. He stood up and carried the boy away and they both disappeared in sight. The crowd was bewildered.
The next day, Father Agaton learned of the shocking news. He immediately visited Andoy's house and wanted to learn more about the man in white. He asked Andoy's parents "do you know the man who took Andoy?"
"A man in white brought him here" sobbed the mother.
"What did he say?" asked the priest.
Adnoy's father answered. "He did not say anything. He was mourning. We do not know him and yet he was very lonely at our son's death as if he knew our son very well. There was something peaceful and unexplainable about him. He brought my son home and then he smiled gently. He rubbed andoy's hair away from his face and kissed him on his forehead. Then he whispered something to Andoy."
"What did he say?" asked the priest.
He began, "He said to my son... 'thank you for the gift ... I will see you soon... You will be with me forever...'" andoy's father continued, "you know for a while, I felt so wonderful. I cried, but I do not know why. All I know is that I cried tears of joy. I could not explain it father. When that man left, something peaceful came over me. I felt a deep sense of love inside. I could not explain the joy in my heart. I knew my boy is in heaven now . But tell me father, who is this man that my son talks to everyday in your church. You should know because you are always there... except on the time of his death."
Father Agaton suddenly felt the tears welling in his eyes, with trembling knees, he murmured, "he was talking to no one... but... Jesus."