Returning the favor 24 years after

Vilma Veloso and Chang Euldan. | Contributed photo

CEBU CITY, Philippines–Twenty-four years ago, Chang Euldan experienced an unforgettable moment in his life when someone gave him a gift in school.

One day in 1995, a Grade 6 teacher at the Basak Elementary School-Catmon, Vilma Veloso, gifted the then four-year-old Euldan a toy gun.

Euldan, now 28 years old and a professional photographer, said the gesture was what made the moment special since Veloso wasn’t someone he knew back then and wasn’t even his teacher in any subject.

“I felt emotional because of the fact that a person who I didn’t know gave me a gift out of nowhere,” says Euldan. “Even my mom felt emotional after knowing that a teacher who was a stranger to me gave me a gift.”

Euldan said he was just walking past Veloso’s classroom when he was called by the teacher. Veloso then gave the toy gun to him for no apparent reason.

It was this experience that inspired Euldan to one day give back to the person who made him feel special that day.

“I couldn’t  describe how I felt that time except for the joy in my heart upon receiving the gift,” says Euldan.

Fast forward to 2019, Euldan said he got reminded of the moment in a somewhat weird way.

“Now, I moved and transferred my studio (Chang Euldan Studio) to Mandaue City. It so happened that it was situated at a Veloso Road, which tickled my heart with laughter since it reminded me again of Mrs. Vilma Veloso,” he said.

And so Euldan came up with an idea that would turn out to be a good one. He decided to look for Veloso to return the favor.

The challenge, though, was finding the teacher. But as the saying goes, when there’s a will, there’s a way. And there’s Facebook.

Euldan used the social networking site to find Veloso and it didn’t take long to succeed with that mission.

And as fate would have it, his search came at a most appropriate time.

“I was in a meeting when I got a call saying that they would want me to be present as they celebrate Mrs. Veloso’s birthday on October 21, so I quickly made my way to Catmon to surprise her,” he said.

And he made sure he wouldn’t let it just be an ordinary reunion.

“I stopped at the flower shop for a bouquet then I went to a store and bought a toy gun, the unforgettable toy she gave me way back then,” he said.

So after more than two decades since he received that toy, Euldan and Veloso met again, during the latter’s birthday on October 21.

The reunion that took years to make quickly became the talk of the town, igniting inspiration to everyone.

Euldan added that when he saw Veloso, he recalled that moment in 1995 taught him how life can be great by just giving.

Veloso, still a teacher in the same school, got a beautiful bouquet of flowers and, of course, a toy gun from Euldan to remind her of him.

This unique “reunion” story is a living testament that teachers do not just teach us lessons from the book, but also in life. /bmjo