Tatay Gimmy gives away free taho
Giving, whether in the wake of a disaster or on any ordinary day, makes a world of difference. As lawyer, writer, and orator Robert Ingersoll once said, “We rise by lifting others.” Individuals, non-profit organizations (NGOs), and private institutions have been involved in the fight against COVID-19 through one of our greatest arsenals available, aside from any vaccine or health protocols—kindness. Filipinos have been donating cash, Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs), food, and even medicine to those who need help, frontliner or not.
Trending lately is the community pantry. The concept lets people contribute or get food for free, no strings attached. The idea is to give according to ability, and get based on need. Of course, community pantry is just one of the noble initiatives people have been coming up with.
Gimmy Panis Conos aka Tatay Gimmy shows us that giving is not just about making a donation, but more on making a difference. Having suffered a mild stroke, he goes out on the streets selling taho to pay for his medications. But because of his condition, he is only able to roam for a short while. He gives away what’s left of his soy pudding to people in queue at COVID-19 testing areas in Manila.
The 52-year-old taho vendor, more concerned about earning to pay for his medical expenses than avoiding the coronavirus, shares that he begins his rounds at 5 a.m. He works until 9 a.m., after which he gives away the sweet staple for free just so none of it is wasted.
“I noticed that many are affected by the pandemic. I thought hard on how I could help,” Tatay Gimmy says. “Since I need to be home anyway, the solution is to give the taho for free.”
Originally from Tacoloban City, where his family lives, Tatay Gimmy is currently in Manila, having relocated in search of better job opportunities. He worked in construction for five years, but resorted to selling taho after illness and age caught up with him. Apart from hypertension, he suffers from diabetes and rheumatism.
His act of generosity has not gone unnoticed as Tatay Gimmy has gone viral online. Mary Christine Amoguis, from General Santos City, South Cotabato, has a habit of sharing on her feed online calls for donations. The 20-year-old accounting student posted Tatay Gimmy’s photo which was retweeted by celebrities and influencers, including TV variety show host and social media sensation Maine Mendoza. Because of this the senior citizen instantly gained almost 300,000 subscribers on YouTube.
Long before he went viral, the old vendor has been giving free taho to street children in his area. You can even watch his first video on YouTube, where he was serving kids for free.
Tatay Gimmy hopes to monetize his channel to fund his medications. More important, like most of us, he wishes for everything to go back to normal. He wants everyone to be able to go back to the streets worry-free and safe. As we all work toward recovery let us take comfort in the fact that each of us has the power to make our country a better place one good deed at a time.