They can imitate you, but they can’t duplicate you…
The first encounter I had with Ruddy “Manong” Robredillo was unpleasant on my part. It was February of 2006, I am a newbie at the office, and back then we had no canteen, thus we were either obliged to bring our “baon” or have someone buy our food for our lunch. I was not well-oriented of his approach which really took me by surprise when in a loud, irritated voice he asked/commanded me, “BI, UNSA IMO IPAPALIT KAY MOLAKAW NAKO.” Although a bit shocked (and out of respect of his age), I still managed to be calm and told him what I wanted for my lunch. I felt a little hurt which prompted me to observe his approach to my co-workers and I was able to make a conclusion that it is really his ways. To make the long story short, I adapted to his rather harsh voice and ‘grumpiness’ and learned how to live with it.
For more than nine years, I came to know and love Manong Ruddy as a person. At his age (at 65 years old), no one can match his memory such that he can memorize each of our requested “merienda” no matter how varied it was (without writing it down on a piece of paper), and he can even memorize our PIN numbers, imagine that. I sometimes fail to remember what my PIN was and when I asked him about it, he would blurt it out plus a sarcastic side comment, “TIGUWANG”. ☺
He is an honest person, tested through the years. Anyone can vouch of his honesty and integrity especially when it comes to money matters. Speaking of money, he did not need to queue himself inside banks – he is a self-proclaimed VIP and the bank personnel entertained him hastily. It was even said, though not verified, that he was allowed to go inside the bank and make a transaction even after banking hours.
He is also a very fit individual – his waistline is obviously smaller than mine. ☺ He grew very fit by biking his way around the city running on errands of his co-workers. He did that for most of his career life.
A well-loved ‘Tatay’ who loves his family so much. He had a huge family (with more or less 10 children) and he supported all of them throughout his entire life spending his meager salary to provide their needs. I would never imagine myself raising such a large family but he did it with pride and with a king-like authority, like a boss. ☺
The time for him to retire as a government employee is coming and most, if not everybody, of us in the Digos Water District would miss him. We would miss his laugh, his ‘irritated’ voice, his work ethics, his mood swings. But I know that it is not yet goodbye – even if he retires from work soon, he would be back to pay his water bill. ☺ Though I really wish he could stay longer but then it is high time for him to enjoy his retirement and enjoy the remaining of his earthly life.
What would become of his work now? Well, somebody has to take charge and would try to imitate him, but deep in my heart, no one could duplicate him, not in this lifetime, I guess.