Hawkers aren’t from a privileged class. And being a hawker is certainly not an easy job.
But despite all the hardships, two hawkers still found it in themselves to carry out separate acts of kindness.
In a Facebook post published on Sunday, Daniel Koh Kah Soon wrote about how he witnessed the hawker, who he called “the Oyster man” because he operates a stall selling fried oyster omelette, offering an elderly cleaner his dinner.
The hawker had been getting his business ready for the dinner crowd when the cleaner pushing his trolley came to a stop in front of the stall. The hawker then gestured for the cleaner to help himself to a box of roast duck, which was supposed to be the hawker’s dinner, placed at a table nearby.
Koh witnessed the cleaner picking up at least three pieces of drumsticks and overheard another stall-keeper teasing the cleaner for taking just the best parts of the roast duck. On hearing his comment, the cleaner glanced over to the hawker, who smiled and gestured for the cleaner to carry on.
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The hawker only began eating his dinner after the cleaner was done. When Koh peeked into the box, all the drumsticks were gone and only some meat were left.
“It didn’t bother Mr Oyster man,” wrote Koh. “He just sat there quietly eating his dinner, then turned his head to tell a customer that his stall would be open for business in 10 minutes time.”
Koh also clarified that he does not know the Oyster Man, nor was he asked to write the post. “I shared because I appreciate acts of kindness, especially so when it is offered by an ordinary (person), to an old person who is doing a job not many people would want to do,” Koh said.
He added: “When we open our eyes, we can still see acts of kindness from unexpected places. That’s when we are reminded of the presence of grace and generosity.”
Koh’s post was shared more than 100 times by Tuesday. On one of those shares, a comment was posted by another user Yinglin Chua about another act of kindness witnessed at Ghim Moh hawker centre.
Chua said she had been queueing at a mixed rice stall when an old lady pushing a trolley had cut her queue, telling her that she was going to take a look at the offered dishes on display.
The old lady, who was seen counting the coins she had earlier, got a plate of food and went to a nearby table without paying. Chua wrote that she thought the old lady was just going to place her food on the table before coming back to pay.
She then offered to pay for old lady’s plate when it was her turn, but to her surprise the stall owner said there wasn’t a need to do so. According to Chua, the stall owner said that they do not charge the poor and needy who come to their stall as their lives are difficult.
She also pointed out that it appeared that it wasn’t the first time the old lady had received free food from the stall, and that she did not take advantage by ordering the most expensive food either.
Chua said: “There is indeed warmth in the country after all.”