Kid studying on Cebu sidewalk inspires netizens

Mara Cepeda
Kid studying on Cebu sidewalk inspires netizens
(UPDATED) Under the lights of a nearby fast food restaurant, the young boy diligently works on his homework

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – A photo of a child studying outside a fast food restaurant is currently making its rounds on social media.

Nine-year-old Daniel Cabrera was pictured while sitting on his legs, a look of concentration on his face as he writes on an open book. He was using a wooden bench as a makeshift table along the sidewalk beside a Mcdonald’s branch in the Mandaue Reclamation Area.

Joyce Torrefranca took Daniel’s picture on Tuesday night, June 23, and posted it on her Facebook account.

Torrefranca is a student at Cebu Doctors’ University. She said Daniel inspired her to study harder as she prepares for an exam.

“As a student, it gave me an inspiration to work harder. I’m fortunate my parents were able to send me to school. I seldom go to coffee shops to study, but this kid just hit me. You really don’t need much, you just have to be determined and focused on the things that you want to achieve,” Torrefranca told Rappler.

“I hope that this kid will inspire millions of people,” she said.

“I was able to talk to this kid moments after Joyce took this snapshot,” commented Giomen Probert Ladra Alayon on Torrefranca’s post.

Nagstudy siya ug English. More like a homework: identify the animal illustrated,” according to Alayon, who was with Torrefranca when she took the picture. (He is studying English. It’s more of like a homework: identify the animal illustrated.)

In a telephone interview, Mcdonald’s Mandaue Reclamation Area restaurant manager Iris Prak said that Daniel, his mother, and his 7-year-old brother Gabriel usually stay outside Mcdonald’s to beg from passers-by.

The brothers do their homework there after school because they do not have electricity at home. Prak said that sometimes, the boys’ mother works at a nearby food stall, where the family of 3 usually sleeps at night.

Normally, nanghihingi sila ng water, so binibigyan po namin sila (Normally they ask for water, so we give them water),” shared Prak, adding that the Cabreras are free to hang around the restaurant.

She added: “Gusto kasi ni Daniel ng toys. Sabi ko sa kanya na if ever na makapagbigay siya ng paper na merong star, bibigyan namin siya ng toy, pati ‘yung kapatid niya.

(Daniel wants to get a toy. I told him that if he will be able to show us a paper with a star, we’ll give him and his brother toys.)

Mcdonald’s Philippines public relations and communications manager Adi Timbol said she is happy with the branch staff’s reception of the family.

“I felt happy and proud of the store [because] they do what they can to be of assistance to the child even in a little way,” she told Rappler through a phone interview.

‘Keep it up kid’

Alayon said that the kid’s perseverance in studying makes the photos a source of inspiration.

“Despite the lack of personal space or inadequate lighting, he still chose to study,” he said.

“Keep it up kid! Mabuhay!

Another Facebook user, Norman Hams Hicban, posted Torrefranca’s photo on his Facebook account on Wednesday, June 24. It has since garnered more than 29,600 likes and 7,500 shares.

Several social media users praised the young boy.

The kid will have a very bright future….with so much willing to help. He will be amazing for sure!! God bless him!” said Dotti Manalo Libiran.

I see a good leader in progress. Keep it up kid!” commented Cecil Benavente.

Warms my heart and breaks my heart at the same time! Mcdonald’s should give this kid a Scholarship!” added Jose Miguel Rodriguez.

Some even shared similar stories, like Angie Palma: “I met two kids in Pedro Gil also who stay inside the Ministop just to do their homework because they don’t have electricity at home. I admire the staff of that convenient store who let the kids stay on their place for that purpose.”

Bayanihanproject.com even commented: “Does anybody know how to get in touch with this child? We are a crowdfunding platform for projects that help uplift the lives of Filipinos. We’d appreciate any information that we can get.” – With a report from Voltaire Tupaz/Rappler.com  

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Mara Cepeda

Mara Cepeda specializes in stories about politics and local governance. She covers the Office of the Vice President, the Senate, and the Philippine opposition. She is a 2021 fellow of the Asia Journalism Fellowship and the Reham al-Farra Memorial Journalism Fellowship of the UN. Got tips? Email her at mara.cepeda@rappler.com or tweet @maracepeda.