Homeless Boy Dreams of Being a Superhero
Many children dream of becoming superheroes. For 9-year-old Daniel Cabrera, however, it will be more than just about wearing tights and capes. The homeless boy’s dream is to finish school so he can get his family out of poverty.
Homeless Boy’s Dream Warms Everyone’s Hearts
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“I want my mother to stop crying,” the boy, called “Biboy” by his family, said. “She is the only one raising us and it is only by studying hard that I can help.”
The third-grader from Subangdaku Elementary School in Mandaue City, Cebu, is one of three children. He has a half-brother, Robert, 16, and a younger brother, Gabriel, who is 7. His mother, 43-year-old Maria Christina Espinosa, is a helper at a makeshift food stall that sells cheap food at the reclamation area, earning about ₱60 to ₱80 a day. Despite the low pay, however, they get by, as the owner of the stall, Juliet Lubag, allows her and her children to sleep in it.
The stall, which is made of plywood, is only a 5 ft x 6 ft box with a height of about 6 ft. It’s tiny, but it has been home for the family for over a year now.
Before that, they lost their home in a fire in a nearby barangay and had been moving from one place to another until Lubag saw them sitting outside their stall. She took them in and allowed them to stay in her stall, also giving Christina a job after learning that she is a single parent who is raising three children. Robert is her son from her first common-law husband, while Daniel and Gabriel’s father died in 2013, shortly after he was released from prison.
The stalls don’t have electricity, so Daniel is forced to do his homework in a lighted parking lot of a nearby McDonald’s branch. A photo of the child doing his homework at the parking lot became viral in social media.
It’s the homeless boy’s dream that motivates him to do better in school. Asked why he was still doing his schoolwork so late, Daniel shared, “My mother said that if I study hard, my future would be brighter.”
When asked about what he wants to be when he grows up, Daniel gave a very simple yet meaningful reply. The homeless boy’s dream is to become a policeman as he believes that it is through this that he can protect his family.
His study habits were new: he was said to spend after-school hours with friends at abandoned cargo containers in the area or watch street fights in his spare time. He also used to beg for money from passersby.
This changed, however, when he saw his mother cry due to exhaustion, too tired of trying to make ends meet for her children. Daniel felt helpless when it dawned upon him that the next best thing he could do to stop his mother from crying was was to study hard, finish school, and find a job.
Seriousness aside, Daniel also said that he wanted to help so that one day, his mother could buy him his favorite comic book, Dragon Ball Z.
Today, Daniel spends extra time doing homework or memorizing his tables—Math is his favorite subject. He likes lo look at different numbers and write them in different colors. When not studying, he draws his favorite Dragon Ball Z character, Son Goku.
When asked about her son, Christina revealed that her nine-year-old is a sweet boy. Although the homeless boy’s dream is to find a stable job so he can give his family the kind of life they deserve, which is considered big for a mere nine-year-old, Daniel is really just a boy who wants to play and read his beloved comics. She shared, “He hasn’t stopped talking about those Dragon Ball comics. But as long as he is happy, then it’s okay with me.”
Christina admitted that she had been overwhelmed by the responsibility of raising three children by herself. Sometimes, she feels inadequate as a parent because she is unable to provide a better life for her children. Still, with every snuggle from her children, she is reminded of the blessings that she has in life despite all the hardship.
“I feel happy whenever I am reminded that I am lucky to have a son who doesn’t stop caring for his family,” Christina shared.
Since Daniel’s photo became viral, good Samaritans responded by giving him books, pens, crayons, and even a toy police car. He also never has to do homework in the parking lot again as a donor gave them a battery-powered lamp to help him study better.
Acting director of Mandaue City Police, Supt. Julian Entoma, also said that at least fifty policemen pledged to give a part of their salary to Daniel.
Daniel, however, is oblivious to the fame. He is just being a boy, focused on his dreams, and maybe someday be his own mother’s superhero.