This is sick!
I had an unusual opportunity to meet (and greet) CNN Hero of the Year Efren Penaflor today for another taping episode of The Sweet Life (that Lucy/Wilma show on QTV). Efren looks very ordinary in his 'Hero' shirt, casual khaki pants and in a comfortable pair of Puma kicks. He sat quietly on one corner watching Lucy and Wilma in delight as they wait for their turn. Looking at them, it's hard to imagine that they'd be able to pull off the most humble deed of pushing the kariton and turn it to become the most noble act of teaching streetchildren and changing their fate just by teaching them ABC's. But they did. Efren said that they would go around each street and offer the kids free bread/meal as long as they would sit and listen to them teach. It was a wise idea to persuade hungry mouths to change their lives. It's like, they're not just teaching ABC's but they are teaching the kids to find out for themselves that they can learn and be better individuals if they wanted to. The guy on my right (in white) was once called a "Spaghetti' boy. He used to belong to a gang who would steal power cables, burn them until the rubber is gone and they would sell the copper wires to junkshops for money. The guy at the rightmost side of the photo is just 16 years old and he's a volunteer for Efren's Dynamic Teen Group. He sounded bright and eloquent for his age. When I was 16, I don't remember being such socially consciuos. True, indeed, that they have done something extraordinary in their lives and to the lives of many children. Their presence alone exudes so much positive energy. I even remembered blurting out, "Thank you," instead of "Congratulations." Well, thank you for doing what you're doing, that is. At last, a public service with only the purest intentions. Wait til you hear them speak. When they talk, you'll start to listen. And, I mean, really listen because their stories are so inspiring you're left in awe. Meeting them is like meeting some great actress. Even greater because you know that they have done greater things amidst their humble ways. If I am filthy rich, I'd probably give them thousands of notebooks with inspirational photo of me on the cover and thousands of feathery pens to match the notebooks to help them keep doing what they are doing. Episode airs on January 4, 2010. Wow, TV exposure kaagad!