Good things happen when you meet strangers.
Yo-Yo Ma

December 5th was my graduation date. I was dropped at the graduation square with a gown in my hands, dressed in boots, jeans and some woollen sweater.

Women at the gate set up my gown for me. I paid them and headed to the seats. I was finally graduating.

I was sure I won’t see much family. My mum’s cousin is the one person who decided he had to show up whether I wanted or not. Along with him was my younger brother who looked bored to death. I was bought flowers.

He couldn’t stay long since the car he used had issues. However he stayed long enough to listen to names being called out.

My best friend had no family coming. We went and sat with my uncle, took sodas and a few photos which he paid for. He left at around 2 p.m.

We had just graduated. 4 years of campus done, yet at 3 p.m., we were free. No party, no cake, no photo sessions, no nothing.

My then boyfriend had left to bury his aunt (who when I think of it might have been imaginary, a made up story).
My family was busy.

My best friend’s family was somehow busy too.
Well… life can be busy.

Her mum’s friend called her. He said we could drop at some hotel he owns and take lunch. It was an irresistible deal. We bought paper bags and stuffed our gowns in it. We had a bus to catch.

At around 4, we got there. It was a surprise to find that he had organized a small party for us. Despite the absence of cake, there was lots of meat. Who am I to complain?

He had even invited his friends telling them he had daughters graduating.. We even made a small speech and it felt like we had actually graduated.

After eating, a friend of his took photos of us being forced to wear our creased gowns..  We called it a day at around 7.

I left having felt at home with a total stranger. He even paid my fare.

One year down the line, my friend calls me up to meet her. I complain all the way to her place..

Guess what?  She has framed photos of us on our graduation date. I have never been more humbled and I don’t think anyone has ever done anything as good.
I hold the photo and I can’t help marvel at how, he, a perfect stranger saw the need of us having photos that we would never have had..

I can’t explain the gratitude.. He stood in for a father and a friend and it could never go unappreciated..

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I wish I had a soft copy but I don’t… there is one of the photos. I am looking at this man who shared our joy as if it were his own..

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