Whenever I hear that name, I always picture a man who is calm, orderly, organized, hardworking, simple, humble, and soft-spoken. That picture is imprinted in my mind by someone I knew when I was three years old.

He would always share his life story over and over. He was from a poor family. His mother married twice and so the family became bigger. To earn a decent living was firmly taught by his mother. So even at a young age, Francisco became the hard-earning member of his family. He had no time to educate himself because food on the table was more important for them.

Eventually, Francisco started a family of his own. So this time, he had to earn more for his own family. At that time, to be a “Cuchero,” a man who drives a horse-drawn carriage, was lucrative. So Francisco invested in a horse and a carriage. He sustained his family’s needs with this occupation.

While he was not educated, Francisco did not limit himself from learning. He would read when he was at home from work. He would engage in good talks with his rich and influential passengers.

Learning is always free for anyone who has the discipline to learn.

Francisco knew where he stood. He was at the bottom of society’s ladder but this never stopped him from having decency and dignity. He would start his day by dressing properly with his immaculately white trousers and white shirt; cleanly shaved face, well positioned hat. He would readily share his smile to people he met and he always had that amused face when he talked with people.

Francisco’s simplicity won him the respect of many. People sought out for his services not only because they needed a ride but they also wanted to have that engaging talk with a simple man with simple wisdom.

I could still remember his presence in the house. He would just sit on his favorite chair and looked into the stillness of the night sky. He would just close his eyes and you could see a smile on his face.

Looking back, I believe that those moments when he was just bathing in the stillness of the night, Francisco was really peacefully communing with God. Perhaps that was the secret that he had after all. His serenity, his calm, his simplicity, his wisdom, they were all gifts that Francisco sought for and they were freely given.