(Note: Pilipino Star Ngayon’s Bituin Ng Pag-Asa series looks back and celebrates viral stories of hope and inspiration this 2020.)
This Easter Sunday story of a pizza delivery man feeding the homeless gave netizens hope during the COVID lockdown.
Raymond Papellero inspired many after using the money he collected from tips to give street dwellers and stranded individuals bread to eat amid the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) in Metro Manila.
His acts of kindness came to light thanks to a bakery owner, who couldn’t help but notice this man coming to her shop — Raina’s Bakery in West Crame, San Juan City — to buy bread in bulk every day during the ECQ.
“Nung inaayos niya yung tinapay sa box, pinicturan ko siya ng nakatalikod. Tapos saka ko siya kinausap. Tinanong namin siya, bakit ang dami niyang binibiling tinapay?” Raina Ominga recently recalled to The STAR’s Latestchika.com.
“Tapos ang sabi sa akin, ang dami daw niyang nakakasalubong sa ilalim ng MRT Cubao na mga nakatira daw dun and na stranded dun, so naawa siya. Dun niya binibigay yung mga food.”
From the money he got daily from tips, which amounted from P300, P400 to P500, he would always purchase cheese bread, spanish bread, monay, etc. and repacked one of each kind into smaller plastic bags.
He would also include drinks — bottles of mineral water or packs of fruit juice — in the bread distribution.
Touched by Raymond’s story, Raina decided to share the “stolen shot” on Facebook on Easter Sunday, April 9, 2020, lauding the delivery rider for his #biyayanihan.
“Sobrang na-touch ako sa ginagawa niya kasi parang tayo, ako, sobrang takot ako lumalabas nun, tapos siya nag-wowork siya for his family, and then nakuha pa niya tumulong para sa ibang pamilya at ibang tao,” Raina said.
The post immediately went viral, getting hundreds of thousands of reactions from people equally moved by Raymond’s sharing of blessings.
More people also wanted to help him. They would contact Raina saying they would pay for the bread so that he could keep the tip money.
Instead, Raymond would buy more pieces of bread with the donations.
“From 500, naging P1,000 to P1,200,” Raina said. “Si Kuya Raymond naman nahihiya siya na may nagdo-donate actually, so ang ginagawa niya, halimbawa may magdo-donate ng P1,000 dinadagdagan niya or bumili siya ng drinks.”
Raymond would also receive rewards — P10,000 from his company Pizza Hut and P100,000 from the Araneta Group of Companies.
“Thank you for sharing my post kasi dahil dun nagbago yung buhay ni Kuya Raymond. Ang daming blessings dumating sa kanya. Hindi lang siya naging blessing sa ibang tao nung ECQ, naging blessing din kayo sa kanya,” Raina told netizens.
It was later learned that the father of three from Mandaluyong did all these despite also struggling and facing uncertainty during the pandemic.
According to One News, Raymond even sent financial support to his mother in Cebu yet still managed to set aside money for the needy.
He was quoted as saying that he hoped what he did will inspire other people to also share their blessings with the poor, especially during these difficult times.
Looking back, Raina believes her story went viral because it somehow recaptured the meaning of Easter. After all, it renewed many people’s faith in humanity’s ability to help whatever is your status in life.
“Siguro kasi Easter nun, parang acts of God. Kung andito si Jesus Christ kasama natin physically, ganun ginagawa niya. Yung ginagawa ni Kuya Raymond ganun eh. Feeling ko yung essence ni Christ nandun.”
Eight months since it happened, her viral post continues to be shared, Raina said.
“Akala ko nga actually tapos na yung story. Ngayong time of Christmas, yung sini-symbolize kasi ng acts ni Kuya Raymond is to give us hope. Despite everything that’s happening in the world, there’s hope.
“So, let’s help each other. Tayo lang naman yung makakapag-get through this pandemic. Good deeds lang,” she said.
Watch the inspiring #BituinNgPagAsa video below: