Literal na kung anu-ano pinapasok mo,” my friend Catherine said when I told her about my Mother’s Day plans.
Yes, I was spending Mother’s Day hiding inside a box, handing out goodies to moms.
I arrived at Watsons in SM Mall of Asia that busy Sunday, making my way through aisles of products and throngs of people in search of what would be my home for the afternoon. A crowd had gathered around it and I couldn’t blame them.
Super and Watsons’ Love Vendo was eye-catching—Watsons blue and white outside, with the words “Happy Mother’s Day!” written in giant cursive. Moms were supposed to reach into the fabric-covered window at the bottom to get a gift. Nope, they didn’t need to purchase anything. As long as they were moms, they were entitled to receive a surprise.
Inside, it was a fluorescent pink. I walked in, closed the door and just like that, I was alone, surrounded by boxes of goodies I was about to give away. Yep, I was the machine of this vendo. There were beauty and wellness products, chocolates and Watsons gift certificates hiding inside Mother’s Day cards.
“Ready?” a voice asked from outside the door.
“Let’s do this,” I said.
The first mom reached in and accidentally grabbed my leg. I laughed, pushing a big bottle of Watsons Invigorating Body Lotion in Pomegranate and Apple into her hand.
Mom’s day out
Mom after mom reached into the booth and I would randomly hand them gifts—a hairbrush, vitamin supplements, baby wipes, boxes of tissue, chocolate bars, bottles of conditioning shampoo, heel grips, jars of hair treatment, enormous bottles of mouthwash, gift certificates and more. Some of the moms would feel my hand and scream and laugh, “Ay, may tao!”
Susan Mano, a mom of one who was on a moms’ day out with her best friends, got a P500 gift certificate from Watsons. “I didn’t expect it! Thank you so much!”
“Masaya,” said Marivic Merlan, a mom of one who also got a P500 gift certificate.
Just before giving the Love Vendo a shot, Ana Lyn Edquiban Buenaventura was enjoying the day in the mall with her three sons. “My boys treated me,” she said, her eyes shining. “Nag-lunch kami.”
Her son Gelo said, “She’s kind, she’s a loving mother.”
Clarence said, “Mapagbigay siya, matapang at mabait.”
Christian chimed in, “She’s caring. Napakasipag ni mama, tuwing umaga siya gumigising sa amin.”
During my breaks, I got to see kids pulling on their moms’ arms, excited to show them the vendo. The line of mothers waiting for their turn grew longer and longer and the crowd watching did not thin.
The vendo had a peephole but there was no time to look through it. The moms just kept coming and I was too busy handing out gifts. All I saw were their hands, all kinds of hands. Lulled by the rhythm of the giveaway, I couldn’t help but get sentimental as I stared at them. Smooth hands, wrinkly hands, small hands, big hands, fingers stacked with rings, wrists jangling with bracelets, manicured hands, bare hands. These hands had carried babies, shampooed hair on little heads, prepared baon, told stories, inspected wounds, wiped away tears, given hugs, offered comfort, expressed love.
It sounds funny that I would willingly sit in a box for hours but it really was a privilege to bring joy to 200 moms on Mother’s Day. I would do it again in a heartbeat.
Justine Olga Buksh, mom of 2, got the biggest surprise of the day: a Watsons Bubble Foot Spa Machine. “I’m so happy. I was surprised and I’m so blessed. We love Watsons. I purchase beauty products from Watsons,” she said.
“Mommy, you’re a star!” said Kim, her nine-year-old.