Many of us form strong bonds with our biological parents because they are present and active in our lives. Others, however, are left to create these types of relationships with outside parental figures. That is, of course, if we’re fortunate enough to have such a worthy person in our life. College of Law graduate, Alex Castro, and soy pudding vendor, “Tatay Dong,” formed quite a special bond when Castro was undergoing her collegiate experience at the University of the Philippines-Diliman. Their bond became so great that Casto referred to Tatay Dong as her father. Even after graduation, Castro never forgot the kindness of Tatay Dong. (1, 2)

Law Graduate and Pudding Vendor Create a Special Bond

Even now that she’s a qualified lawyer, Castro will always save a special place in her heart for Tatay Dong. A few weeks ago, she returned to her college campus to reunite with the man who had become much like a father to her for her many years at school. Castro, who came from a broken family, expressed her great love and gratitude in a Facebook post. She thanked the man who dutifully watched out for her during the many years she studied at the University of the Philippines-Diliman, saying, “Thank you for taking care of me during all my years in UP. Thank you for always supporting me, whether it be in sports, campus politics, or law school. Thank you for always being there.” (2)

Back when Castro began studying at the University of the Philippines-Diliman, she enjoyed friendly chats with the soy pudding vendor every morning outside a building where she often had morning classes. Upon finding out that Castro would attend class without breakfast, Tatay Dong was heartbroken. He grew concerned for her, waiting every other morning with a cup of soy pudding to offer her before she started classes for the day. Tatay Dong became fondly protective of Castro, beginning to think of her as his own daughter. On one rainy December night in 2009, Castro explains how Tatay Dong handed her a small parcel with her usual fresh cup of soy pudding. (1)

“When I opened [the parcel],” Castro writes in her Facebook post, “it was your jacket. The one you were wearing the previous morning and all the mornings before that–your only jacket. You wouldn’t take it back, and the only thing you said to me when I tried to give it back for the last time was: ‘Nilabhan ko na ‘yan, ‘Nak. Iyo na ‘yan,’ (I already washed that, child. It’s yours).” Castro was so deeply touched by Tatay Dong’s gesture of kindness. Eventually, the law student bought a jacket and gifted it to Tatay Dong in return! He was so proud of his gift that he told everyone who would listen that the jacket was given to him by his “daughter.” (1, 2)

“‘Tay, may abogado ka na.”I imagined myself saying those words to you as I was driving along the University Avenue…

Posted by Alex Castro on Friday, February 22, 2019

“Dad, I’m A Lawyer Now”

Castro wrote in her Facebook post, “You were such a huge part of my UP experience, In fact, I can’t think about UP without thinking about you.” Upon completing her education at the University of the Philippines-Diliman, Castro practiced hard to become a lawyer, so much so that she didn’t have time to see Tatay Dong. Nevertheless, she constantly thought of him. Back in February, all of that changed. Castro returned to the place where Tatay Dong always served his soy pudding in the hopes of reuniting. To her dismay, she couldn’t find him. (1)

Castro found one of Tatay Dong’s friends and inquired about him. She explained that she had returned to see Tatay Dong. When Tatay Dong saw her, he rushed to see her, happy and delighted. Castro was finally able to tell him what she’d been waiting to say: “Tay, may abogado ka na (Dad, you have a lawyer now).” (1, 2)

Tatay Dong replied, “Alam mo, nasa sa ‘kin pa yung jacket na binigay mo. Paminsan, tinitingnan ko yun, sinusuot. Tapos naaalala kita. Naiisip ko kung kamusta ka na. Abogado ka na pala. (Did you know, I still have the jacket you gave me. Sometimes I look at it, wear it, and then I remember you. I always wonder about how you are. And now you’re already a lawyer!)” (1)

Conclusion

Castro’s heartwarming post has touched thousands of hearts, reaching people all over the internet. Not only does it serve as a reminder to always be kind, since you never know what kind of friendship will result from an act of kindness, it also provides a great example of what real love, support, and friendship looks like. According to Castro, “When I grow up, I want to be just like him – something I never had the chance to say about my own father.” (1, 2) This law graduate’s story is truly an inspiration.

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