Ding Mercado Stays Tough
by: Jovit Caballero and Nina Sandel-Sangueza
It’s been said that we’ll never know how courageous we are until being strong is the only option. Indeed, courage is born in difficult moments, and that is when our strength grows. At NLEX, these virtues are best exemplified by our Patrol Crews (PC) — the men and women out on the streets and doing everything to ensure that motorists get the best customer service experience.
That said, our Human at NLEX this month is PC Gaudencio “Ding” Mercado.
A resident of Novaliches, Quezon City, Ding is a 52-year-old father of four children who has been with his wife for 27 years.
A gifted athlete, Ding was a taekwondo medalist. It’s no surprise that he’s always an active participant in our Tollways Sportsfest. He regularly joins the company-wide chess competitions and also enjoys playing basketball with his colleagues. Ding’s love of sports has also been passed to his children.
Ding had to fight extra hard to succeed in life. When he was in college, he had to work as a bagger at a grocery store to sustain his studies. He then applied at a small agency and worked as a security guard in the evening. After completing his two-year course, he was hired by Goldlink Security and he continued working as a security guard for commercial buildings.
Ding didn’t let go of his dream to work for a big company, so he tried his luck and applied as a Patrol Crew. He was hired by Tollways Management Corporation in 2005. He has been with NLEX since then.
While working at NLEX, Ding manifests strength and courage all the time. For starters, his patience is put to the test by motorists who try to make excuses to get away with their traffic violations. Aside from that, he also readily renders service to customers who encounter problems — be it car trouble or other emergencies — on the road.
Ding is definitely dedicated to his job. However, his tenacity was put to the test in 2008. While riding his motorcycle to work, he was hit by a vehicle and was pushed against another vehicle. His foot was crushed underneath his motorcycle. Yet, Ding still managed to get up. Despite the fact that he was bleeding from his injuries, he was able to reach the hospital. He used his motorcycle as his crutch.
Then, when Typhoon Ondoy struck in 2009, Ding was on-duty when he heard the news that his family needed to evacuate since the flood was rapidly rising in their area. Ding was desperate to go home but he couldn’t because roads were no longer passable. Fortunately, the whole family was rescued but their home did not survive. The house, along with all their belongings, was totally washed out by the heavy floods. But Ding didn’t lose hope. In time, with the help of some relatives, he was able to rebuild their home.
The pandemic also presented added challenges for Ding. Each time their barangay was on lockdown, it was difficult for him to report to duty. To be able to continue working, he asked his friend if he could sleep and live in the latter’s multicab. He also requested his friend to let him use the bathroom when needed. Ding did this for two weeks.
Through all the obstacles he encountered, Ding drew strength from his faith. This, like his love for his family, remains constant in his life.
Ding continues to be part of NLEX and he has also kept looking for other sources of income for his family, especially for his children’s school expenses. He turned his love for hogs into a family business. In fact, he is now raising pigs and turkeys.
Ding is living proof that no matter what life throws at us, we have a good chance of getting through it if we fight with all our might and maintain our strong faith in God.
The inner strength and courage that Ding has shown should inspire us all to never give up even when things get tough.