It makes no difference how severe car accidents are, they are generally traumatizing for all parties. Not only do they have the potential to cause great physical harm, but the cost of accidents are usually pretty high. Knowing this, it is understandable that Sayd Omar Morales Akmad was angry when his car was rear-ended by another motorist as he was driving in heavy traffic. However, as Akmad stepped out of his car to confront the driver, what he saw scattered on the floor forced him to come to terms with something altogether more heartbreaking.
Akmad was rear-ended by a motorcyclist while driving his car.
Akmad was driving his white Mitsubishi in heavy traffic in the Philippines. Nothing was all that out of the ordinary; the sun was shining, and the roads were dry. Then Akmad’s car jolted from a sudden impact—a man riding a motorcycle slammed into the back of his white car and caused a large dent.
Thankfully, no one was badly injured. And Akmad, went out to confront the man who had rear-ended him and also to inspect the damage.
Though the damage was substantial, it did not immediately catch his attention. Instead, his eyes were drawn to the white powder that littered the road. It came from a bag of rice that belonged to the man who had hit him.
The man was clearly struggling, and Akmad was overcome with pity.
Akmad began talking to the man, who was sorry for the accident. He was a fisherman, Akmad learned, who was returning home with food for his family. Akmad could tell that he was clearly struggling, and pity replaced any anger or shock he felt.
The police arrived shortly after, and then conducted a brief interview. They concluded that the fisherman was to blame, and that he would have to pay Akmad to repair his vehicle.
Of course, Akmad knew that if the man had to pay, it would put substantial pressure on him and his family at a time when the fisherman had just lost food for his family.
“Anything in life that you lose can be replaced, but you cannot replace the respect and love of a neighbor.”
Akmad decided to let the man go without having to pay for his car damage. The fisherman was overjoyed, and thankful for Akmad’s generosity. But Akmad was not finished—he also replaced the fisherman’s bag of rice.
According to a Facebook post, the fisherman began to cry as Akmad offered the food. He could not believe his good fortune. He did not understand how, or why, Akmad was being so generous to him after he damaged Akmad’s car.
One simple quote, instilled by his grandmother, guided Akmad’s decision.
“Anything in life that you lose can be replaced, but you cannot replace the respect and love of a neighbor,” Akmad wrote in a Facebook post, translated from Filipino.
Akmad was given that rare opportunity to make a difference in someone’s life. Everyone struggles, and in our struggles it is sometimes easy to forget that there is always someone who has it worse. It is not a selfish inclination to worry about personal problems—at the end of the day, we all have problems that need to be taken care of. But that recognition of the fisherman’s greater need is what makes Akmad’s compassionate decision truly special.