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​”I like your teeth. I mean, I don’t want them. So don’t get me wrong. I just love your smile,” I broke the ice between me and this hot firefighter barely two minutes into our conversation aboard Ceres bus en route to Bato bus stop on Wednesday. 

That was the morning I was going to Dumaguete City and Valencia town in Negros Oriental, together with Savannah and Aunt Carmen, while he was bound for an exciting whale shark watching in Oslob, Cebu. 

He said, “Thank you, and also to these teeth whitening strips for doing wonders. I can give you one of these because I have a lot of extras in my bag, or I can give you two, if that will make you happier.” 

His name is Billy Quayle. Yes, he works as a fireman in Canada, a country which grew on me and which I can confidently say I’m well-versed in, owing to my six years of being a financial service advisor for Canadian Chase card members before shifting to my current mind-boggling but exciting role as fraud analyst for US Chase cardholders. 

“Thank you, Billy. How kind of you to give me these, considering that you just met me and you hardly even know me,” I expressed gratitude. 

I’m confident that I have an impeccable set of teeth, thanks too to my dentists, Dr. Alma Albarillo and Dr. Rolex Omega, although at times one or two of them ache as much as my heart does. So I can’t discount the fact that such a kind gesture given by a stranger took my breath away, especially when my baby Savannah started throwing up beside me. 

Billy opened his bag and pulled a pack of wet wipes out of his pouch. He handed me those and said, “Here. Use these to wipe your little girl’s face, chest, and hands. She’s such an adorable girl.” 

On the spot, right alongside us, I gave Savannah a sort of real-time coaching on how to be confident in dealing with people—take note: not flirting—especially to reciprocate acts of kindness with words of thanks, which she said to Billy, whom she fondly referred to as Uncle Billy. 

In the course of our conversation, I couldn’t help feeling visited by those good old days where I was talking to Canadians over the phone. 

So I told him, “You know what, Billy, I’ve missed that beautiful accent very much. And so I thank you for talking to me. Oh, I can’t believe I’m feeling quite nostalgic right now. I really feel like crying.” 

“Oh, no, Ariel. Don’t start crying. I’m running out of tissue paper now. That’s the last one I gave for Savannah,” Billy quipped. 

Billy Quayle, the hottest fireman in Canada, and this blogger, Ariel Allera, warming each other on Ceres Liner bus on the way from Moalboal and Malabuyoc, respectively, to Bato, Santander.