Wednesday, March 12, 2008


Our driver Jun has been with our family for about 6 years. When he started working for us, we had another driver, Greg, who had already been with us for a couple of years, and who was pretty smart and maabilidad. Jun always suffered in comparison, and my dad frequently lost his temper with him for failing to understand his instructions, for driving too fast, for not driving fast enough, for choosing routes with heavy traffic, or for not keeping the cars well-maintained.

When Greg left us (pirated by an unscrupulous family friend), Jun was thrust into the role of "old" driver, and by this time, he had improved tremendously, even by my dad's standards. Perhaps Greg's efficiency had rubbed off on him, or perhaps the more often we sent him on errands, the more he learned. Or perhaps it was because he had grown accustomed to our ways, and more familiar with our usual demands. Whatever it was, over the years Jun has become indispensable. Aside from the usual hatid-sundo, he drives our office staff when they go out on store visits, and when they bring deliveries with them he's the one who brings them through the mall or department store receiving areas. When there are busted lights to be changed or minor repairs to be made in our boutiques, he takes care of those. When there are show window displays that need to be hung from the ceiling, he's the one who gets up on the ladder to attach the stuff. In one instance, I remember him helping us put up the Christmas decor in our Arrow store in SM Batangas. We were laying out strands of beads in alternate colors, and he actually told me, "Ma'am, mas maganda ata pag ganito..." and switched a couple of strands around. Aba, artistic din pala. I just stood back and let him do his thing. And then there was another time when he drove a guest of ours to the airport in Clark, and on his way back, without my mom having told him to do so, he stopped by SM Clark to check on our stores... AND he texted my mom to report that our boutiques were understaffed!

When Hanks and I applied for our drivers' permits, it was Jun who took us to the San Juan LTO and took us through the procedure. When my family went up to Baguio a few years back, and we didn't know where to have lunch, it was Jun who recommended Cafe by the Ruins. Every Christmas, Jun is the one who puts up our tree and strings up the Christmas lights outside our house, and he was the one who hung our very first parol. He's also the one who scales the coconut trees in our garden to chop down the overripe fruit, and he's also the one who goes up to the roof to check for leaks or pest problems. Jun knows where to park while my mom is shopping and where to meet her when she's done, when to missed call Hanks before arriving at her office to pick her up,
how to repair our appliances, where to buy glass cleaner at wholesale price, where to pay Meralco and Globe bills and real estate taxes and village car stickers, where to drop off letters for SM or Robinsons or Landmark or Rustan's, how to pick up samples and counter-receipts from Gaisano, and even how to assist customers during a 3-day sale if he happens to be in one of our stores.

Last Saturday he helped me put up Espada and Elianto banners inside Teatrino for the AMP recital we sponsored. I wanted to place one Elianto banner on a very visible spot on one wall, but there were no nearby railings from where we could suspend it. There was, however, a very narrow ledge jutting out from the wall, and I don't know how he did it, but Jun managed to tie the ends of the plastic straw to the corners of that ledge. Before we left the venue, Abi and I surveyed Jun's handiwork in admiration, and wondered if there's anything Jun can't do.

My family has come to regard Jun with a level of confidence that very few of our employees have earned. When we speak of him, it is usually with amusement and affection, especially when we point out how he has seemed to pick up my dad's short temper with incompetent drivers and traffic aides. We appreciate how he doesn't pinch pennies with us, like when he doesn't always remind us when we forget to pay him back for parking or toll fees (sometimes he even refuses to take my money), or when he buys his own barongs from our warehouse when he could get them for free if he asked us. He's also a man of his word, like how he managed to pay back my parents for the motorcycle they helped him buy, and he never complains, even when we ask him to report for work on holidays. More than anyone, Jun's the most important and valued person on
our household staff, and if anyone tries to pirate him there will be 5 extremely upset Lims to reckon with.


At Sunday, March 16, 2008, Blogger Sean said...

As far as I remember, the family driver on my side has been with us for five or six years now. In fact, tomorrow happens to mark the first day of his vacation; I've financed a good portion of it, in appreciation of everything he's done for us.

Come to think of it, this is why I normally get appalled at any reports of non-Filipino employers maltreating the people who work for them: The idea of why they refuse to establish a proper working relationship is quite lost on me. We could all be just like family after a while.

At Monday, March 17, 2008, Blogger Ailee Through the Looking Glass said...

The sadder reality is, a lot of Filipino employers maltreat the people who work for them too. :(


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