On May 28, financial consultant Winson Heng was bracing himself to get soaked as the storm raged during his morning commute. To his surprise, he found himself miraculously sheltered as he alighted from the bus, thanks to a kind foreign worker who held out an umbrella to shield him from the rain.
Initially thinking it was a part of his job, Heng smiled, thanked him and went along his way. But as he walked on, he noticed two more foreign workers at the front of the bus sheltering people from the downpour.
This piqued his interest, and despite already being on the other side of the overhead bridge, he went back to observe from a safe distance.
He watched three to four buses coming and going, and noticed some 20 other workers resting nearby, seemingly stopping their work due to the rain. But instead of spending time to rest and recharge, the trio of workers he encountered at the bus stop walked back and forth, sheltering commuters out of the kindness of their hearts.
Touched by their act of graciousness, Heng went home and told his family about what had happened.
Speaking to The Pride, Heng, 27 said: “I thought a lot about it and even discussed it with my family. They found it really heartwarming and prompted me to pass it forward.”
About an hour later, as he prepared to leave the house, he looked out his window and saw the workers still faithfully ushering people along their journey.
“I bought them a few bottles of 100plus and located the worker who had helped me. He was so paiseh (Hokkien for embarrassed),” said Heng laughingly.
Inspired to tell others about the workers’ kind gesture, he made a Facebook post which has since garnered over 190,000 views and over 3,000 shares, with many comments lauding their actions.
However, several netizens were also quick to criticise some of the commuters seen in the videos for not expressing any gratitude to the workers overtly.
Heng was saddened by the harsh comments, stating: “From what I observed, most people didn’t thank them, but I believe that everything is in context. We as Singaporeans are known to be more reserved, and some of them may have appreciated it in their hearts.
“On reflection, yes, the post went viral but it brings into question how such a simple act could create such a big hoo-ha. It shows me that these things don’t happen every day.”
Heng pointed to the tendency for people to “focus on ourselves, our career and problems such that we fail to look out for others around us”, something he admits he’s also guilty of.
“I feel that we should cultivate a culture of paying it forward, there are unsung heroes who do what they do even when people don’t give them any gratitude, and there is a lesson to learn here,” said Heng.
And perhaps all it takes is a smiling face holding an umbrella, sheltering us from the rain, to remind us that we don’t always need a reason to be nice, kind, or gracious.