Road to peace: The story behind this viral photo

Erik Tenedero, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 01 2016 10:10 AM | Updated as of Aug 01 2016 11:14 AM

MANILA -- Amid the spate of killings and other bloody encounters on the streets of the metro, a tale that began with a simple act of kindness warmed the hearts of netizens.

At around 1 p.m. last Friday, July 29, Dr. JV Jaurigue dropped off his 14-year old daughter at De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde (CSB) for a dance competition when she unknowingly dropped her cellphone.

"After I dropped her off, I got a green light and left. I momentarily stopped as I turned to Taft due to congestion. An SUV got onto my right side and with windows open, I saw a man holding an iPhone," Jaurigue told ABS-CBN News.

He said he didn't know what was happening so he politely asked the driver what it is.

The driver then told him that the cellphone was dropped by the girl who went down in CSB.

Jarauge admitted that he was reluctant at first as thoughts of "salisi" and other crime modus quickly turned in his mind.

"The moment you stepped out of your car, anything can happen," he said.

But the stranger tried to hand the phone over in the middle of Manila's busy traffic. Jaurigue also noted the smiling woman with the man.

"When I realized it is my daughter's phone, I looked at them and they were smiling at me. I figured, these are genuinely nice people and were just trying to help," he said.

Jaurigue was overwhelmed. He looked at the strangers smiling at him and said thank you. But he thought it still wasn't enough.

"Being in the middle of traffic that was beginning to move, I couldn't make conversation, so I managed to ask them, 'May I take a picture of you?' They just smiled at me and drove off. I managed to take a photo or two," he said.

Jaurigue posted the incident on Facebook.

Within minutes, the post received hundreds of shares until it was picked up by James Deakin, a motoring journalist whom he knew from years back.

"Friends, I need your help. Please, please help me expose this motorist," Deakin began his post, although this wasn't the usual horror story on the road that he usually writes about.

Within two hours, the Good Samaritans were finally identified.

STRANGERS NO MORE

His name is Engineer Gabriel Delim, who was driving with his wife Merriem Lugtu-Delim when the incident happened.

"I saw a young lady dropping off from a car which was two cars ahead from our car and was probably unaware that her cellphone had fallen," Delim said.

He said he tried to call her attention by honking the car's horn but she was in a hurry until he lost sight of her.

His immediate thought was that he had to "get the phone by all means" and return it to her companion. But the traffic light turned green so he had to drive ahead.

He made a stop upon reaching the point where the phone was dropped. The cars behind were beeping but he did not mind them. He picked up the phone and chased the car that dropped the young lady.

After more or less 30 meters, he caught up with the driver and returned the phone.

It was their own daughter who saw the Facebook post.

"At first our daughter was also shocked because the opening statement was kind of leading to something negative," he said. "But when she read the full story, she was very happy and proud.”

The post quickly reached other members of their family and friends, asking for permission to give their personal details to the man they just helped.

"With these commendation and praises, we are very blessed and thankful to all netizens who made their efforts in sharing and commenting," Delim added.

KINDNESS IS THE WAY

Both Jaurige and Delim were overwhelmed with the reaction that they received after the post.

Jaurige said it was a breath of fresh air, a break from the usual "traffic chaos" and the kind of "news we've been getting daily on the news and on the streets."

"I have rekindled my faith in our society. Kindness still lingers among us," he said.

For his part, Delim insisted that it was just the normal thing to do, especially as a Christian.

He believes that it was an act of divine intervention that the post went viral, especially coming right after the celebrated case of road rage that gripped the country.

"People were reminded that kindness, not hardheartedness, good not evil, and love not hate is what God wants in everyone of us," Delim said.