Adriane Niel Cuarte Igana started selling sampaguita when he was just 11 years old. Like many young Filipinos, he wanted to earn some money to help his family make ends meet.
His favorite spot is the Jollibee branch in Baliuag Junction in Bulacan. He sold flowers there for almost seven years.
One of his frequent customers is Rhyzz Canasa-Balanday and her husband. They would always buy the garlands from Igana when they visit the fastfood branch or when they go to the nearby gas station or grocery store, which Igana also frequents.
But on one fateful day, Igana and Balanday's paths would cross again in a very surprising way.
Balanday and her husband were waiting for a service crew to finish clearing up their table at the Jollibee store in Baliuag Junction. Her husband suddenly remembered the sampaguita vendor they used to see every time they eat there.
When her husband wondered aloud to Balanday where the young vendor might be, it was the service crew cleaning their table who answered unexpectedly.
He said, "Wala na po siya kasi po andito na po ako sa loob."
The pleasant yet unexpected turn of events went viral on social media after Balanday posted the story on November 12.
"Tuwang-tuwa kami. Medyo naiiyak nga po ako. Talagang masipag siyang magtrabaho. Pinost ko lang po nagulat na lang po ako ang daming nakakakilala sa kanila," said Balanday.
Igana's life story was also reported by ABS-CBN News.
According to the report, the other fastfood crew told Balanday that since Igana was young, he already asked them when he can start applying to be a crew member.
"Ikinukuwento ng crew na bata pa lang laging nandoon, sa drive thru. Bata pa lang tinanong na 'kelan ba ako pwedeng mag-apply sa Jollibee?'" shared Balanday.
Igana wanted to either be a police officer or pursue a career in Hotel and Restaurant Management.
Igana, his twin, and his four other brothers grew up helping their parents earn either from selling sampaguita or picking up scraps like steel or plastic.
His mother is a housewife and his father is a contractual construction worker.
"Nagsasakripisyo sila para may pangkain kami kahit sila po 'yung magutom para lang kami makakain," said Igana.
When he turned 18, Igana finally applied for a job in the fastfood chain.
"Kailangan na po namin ng malaking pera kasi po malaki na binabayaran... kaya naisipan kong mag-apply," said Igana.
Except for the eldest, the Igana brothers are all still in school.
Igana's story received praise from netizens. A lot of them celebrated his perseverance and hard work.
His advice for others like him: "Unahin pa rin ang pag-aaral kasi 'yun na lang ang pag-asa natin."
Balanday said she wishes Igana could get a scholarship grant from his viral fame. Igana goes to a vocational school in Bulacan.