Selfless father buys fast food for kids, then satisfies hunger by watching them eat

Jessica Lin
16 March 2017

What do two pieces of fried chicken, french fries and a soft-drink mean to you? To many of us, it is simply a fast food meal to satisfy our occasional cravings.

But to one man in the Philippines, a simple fast food meal can be a noble expression of endless love for his two daughters.

The man, Ryan Arebuabo, is a 38-year-old stroke victim who lives in a slum area in Manila with his two daughters, aged six and eight.

This week, netizens in the country were introduced to Arebuabo when a photo of him watching his children enjoy a Jolibee meal went viral.

The real estate professional who took the photo shared the man's story on Facebook, revealing that the single father had gone hungry so his daughters could have some fried chicken. 

"This is a photograph of a father's love. A depiction of genuine selflessness," Jhunnel Sarajan said in his post. He later added more information for netizens who wanted to help Arebuabo and his kids out. 

According to ABS-CBN News, the selfless father had brought his daughters to the popular fast food restaurant that afternoon to celebrate the six-year-old Rose May's graduation from kindergarten.

And while she and her sister Rose Ann tucked in, Arebuabo satisfied his hunger by watching them.

ABS-CBN further revealed that Arebuabo was partially paralysed and could not speak well after suffering a stroke four years ago. Unable to work, he was dealt a further blow when his wife left him and took their daughters with her.

To win his wife back, Arebuabo renovated their house and purchased a used television. But his efforts did nothing to convince her. He did, however, manage to get custody of the two girls.

He now provides for them with money earned from his sari-sari store cart (a type of neighbourhood shop that works like a convenience store), and monthly cash grants of about 2,200 pesos (S$62) from the Philippine government's programme for the poor.

He himself experienced the selfless love of a father throughout his life. He told ABS-CBN that he had grown up in a single parent family with four siblings after his mother died during labour. His father now continues to help him out with expenses by working as a jeepney driver and doing the laundry.

Despite the difficulties he faces, Arebuabo told the local news website that he wants to show he can be a good father. His job, he says, is to make sure his children can one day achieve their dreams and leave the slums.