Monday, August 2, 2004

Curse You

I was browsing through the broadsheets and my eyes came to roost in this column in the business section. This was not actually business material but it involved the biggest shopping chain of the country.

* * *

THIS one is for the books, and it happened at SM Megamall in Mandaluyong City, the most popular mall of retailing magnate Henry "Tatang" Sy, who is building malls all over the country.

It seems that, one day, a certain Ruby Javier went to Megamall at 12 noon to pay for her utilities at the SM customer service counter.

Aling Ruby always had to tow with her a 17-year-old special child, her son Francis, who has autism, diagnosed by doctors to have the mental capacity of a six-year-old.

Francis, like most autistic children, had difficulty in expressing himself. He could hardly talk. But he is never violent.

That day at the mall, while Aling Ruby was doing her business at the SM Supermarket, she somehow lost sight of Francis. He drifted away somewhere in the mall unknown to the mother.

And it was the most harrowing 12 hours for Aling Ruby, trying to look for her son, without much help from the Megamall management, thank you.

* * *

AS soon as she became aware that Francis was missing, Aling Ruby informed the Megamall security office.

Hours passed and still no action from the Megamall security office, Aling Ruby was told to go to the police instead. The police asked her for photographs of the missing Francis.

But then the poor Aling Ruby was on her own to look for her son. After hours of searching and asking around the mall, she found out that Francis actually drifted to the area of the cinemas.

There, as it turned out, Francis tried to go into one of the theaters showing a Harry Potter film. The security guard roughhoused Francis for trying to go in without paying.

As if it was not enough, the cinema security turned Francis over to the mall security. Without much ado, the mall security kicked Francis out of the mall. There -- problem solved!

The poor special child drifted outside in the streets for more than 15 hours. Call it mother's instinct, but Aling Ruby found her son, sitting outside another mall, several kilometers away from Megamall, at way past 12 midnight.

I can only say this to the Megamall management: Heaven help me in what I might do, should something like that happen to my godson Gabriel, a nephew of mine who has the same condition as Francis!

You guys there at Megamall have a problem!

Do those people know what 'karma' is? Let us say that they are not actually aware of the condition of the 17-year old guy, but the mere treatment they had extended to this autistic kid is inhumane enough.

Being big and great enough is no excuse for the SM management not to screen their employees when it comes to character. I am not after their abilities to do their job but character is one thing that sets a person or an employee apart and what actually makes an enterprise worth lauding for, not their profits or even their acquired fame.


  1. c reiji 2...

    nice new look :D

  2. haLa!:o where's the tagboard?! hmmm...

  3. reiji, bebe - thanks. Hehehe. Palit attire muna...hehehe. Inaayos ko pa kasi confused pa ko dun sa html nito. Kailangan ng matagal na upuan...hehehe. :D


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