FOUR OF A KIND

Good afternoon, I apologize for the uninvited message.

Yeah, hundreds more have done the same. Every single time I posted a photo on Instagram, masses of people told me to come pick up their unwanted cats. Some even give me clear orders as if from Pharaoh to his slave.
Overwhelmed by people trying to dump their cats over email, Instagram, and Facebook, I kept my phone number for myself and a few trusted people, hoping for some peace. This one passed right through the formalities, and seconds later popped in my Whatsapp messenger box.

“I was the one who sent a message earlier over Instagram. I am a ride hailing motorbike driver, and I got your number from vet A.

I was waiting for food that my client asked to purchase and deliver, when I saw someone pulled four kittens from under the hood of his car. That man threw the kittens to the ground, and left off with his car.”

Uh huh…

“Other riders who saw what happened, caught the kittens, while others asked for a box from the restaurant. Since we all have deadlines to deliver the food, and some other got an order to drive a client around, we told other riders who came to order food to take care of the babies. We keep on passing the job to the incoming riders while I called everyone I know, and one of my clients suggested I called a vet office, who then gave me your number.
If you can, please help, the babies are cold. It’s getting dark and it started to rain. We will soon have our orders again but the restaurant will close at one point, and all of us here don’t want to leave the babies alone, nor we can take care of kittens because none of us has experience and means to do so.”

Using Whatsapp, we can always see the other person’s number, it’s automated so no one can lie by deliberately inputting fake numbers. I called him by surprise and ask him his name. I asked him where he is right now, which restaurant, while sitting in front of the computer checking Google Maps.

I should be there around 6 pm. It’s 4 hours from then, but I can’t just leave my job and run off. I told him to keep the kittens in a box deep enough they cannot jump out and put the box as close as possible to the kitchen to keep the babies warm.

I called him again when I arrived and the man was jumping and waving like crazy. He was so excited he ran to the restaurant while leaving me walking behind.

It’s not that I don’t want to run and see the kitties, it’s dark and it drizzled on and off and I don’t have glasses. My eyes are getting old.

About five or six men, each with their own rider uniform, were gathered around the box, watching me as if I should fly. I got there anyway, not as fast as they wanted, but as fast as I could.

Four babies in the box were crying out loud, stepping all over the things the men put in the box. One bought dry food from a nearby mini-market, one other bought baby milk (human baby), the other bought bottled water, some other found an empty bottle, cut them down and used them as bowls. The oldest man in the group, his teeth as white as his hair, gave me a small bag of chicken as he grinned.

I spoke with people in the kitchen and asked if I can buy a chicken breast. They boiled a quarter chicken breast for me and I shredded it so the babies could eat, but they wouldn’t.
Of course. The babies are 10 weeks old at most. They haven’t got teeth.

I looked at them, one after the other. Ride hailing motorbike rider is not a lucrative job, but since its inception in Indonesia (by a young Indonesian Harvard graduate, who is now our minister of education) it has given a living to many families who otherwise would have been run over by the economy, and especially so after Covid. These men, who make their living hand to mouth, day by day, risk their lives hitting the road delivering documents, things, buying food, medicine, groceries, whatever people need online, and take those from one place to the other, where people stay safe in the security and convenience of their homes.

I put my bag down, used hand sanitizer, and shook their hands, one after the other.

Thank you, Sirs, I needed a reminder that humanity hasn’t rotted and died.
God bless you all abundantly.
The one who sent me a message bowed his head.
And thank you for giving these little lives a chance in our harsh world. The chance that we wouldn’t be able to give otherwise.

I took the box, and ran back to the taxi. I needed to get the babies out of the cold and the rain.

And I need to smile a little bit more, being happy that love and compassion are still alive.

~Josie

paypal.me/whiskerssyndicate

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Josie And The Whiskers' Syndicate

The first and only cat refuge in Bandung (West Java - Indonesia) a capital breeder of a nation without animal welfare law. We care for Bandung's unwanted animals, operate a TNR as much as our budget allows, and continue to educate people about compassion to animals

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