VIRAL: A jeepney driver and his ailing passenger

Rhys Buccat, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 14 2017 10:03 PM | Updated as of Jul 14 2017 10:05 PM

Photo courtesy of Jhunnel Sarajan

MANILA -- Many were touched by the story of Ryan Arebuabo, the destitute dad who treated his two daughters to a meal at a fast-food chain and whose photo of the moment garnered massive social-media attention.

After the "selfless father" image went viral, Arebuabo, a stroke victim and single parent, became the symbol of unconditional love and persistence. Soon after, he and his daughters started receiving assistance for concerned people.

On Thursday night, another story of a father's selfless love was shared online. 

Photo courtesy of Josie M. Dela Cruz

In a Facebook post, Josie M. Dela Cruz recalled how she one day witnessed a heart-wrenching scene.

According to Cruz, her family was on a jeepney heading to Marilao when she noticed a gaunt girl sleeping beside the driver, whom she identified as Rey Lemon of Pandi, Bulacan. 

When she inquired about the girl's condition, Cruz found out that the girl is the driver's daughter and is very sick. But despite her frail body, Lemon has no choice but to take her with him to work because no one will look after her at home.

Lemon's wife left him and their three children for another man, the driver alleged.

Cruz's post has garnered attention on Facebook. At the time this story was posted, it drew more than 130,000 reactions and 171,000 shares. 

In a phone interview with ABS-CBN News, Lemon said his ailing daughter, Mary Joy, is now 16 years old. 

At her age, Mary Joy should now be in senior high school, but her condition stopped her from studying. 

According to Lemon, 51, the doctors said Mary Joy suffers from a kidney disease but, since he only earns about P200-P300 a day, he could not afford to bring her to a specialist for further treatment. 

"Nakiki-boundary lang po ako. Walang-wala naman kami kaya hindi ko talaga maipagamot. Minsan sumasakit na talaga ang ulo ko sa kakaisip sa sitwasyon namin," he said. 

Photo courtesy of Josie M. Dela Cruz

Despite their difficult situation, Lemon said he is not giving up. He has three daughters to support. Her eldest is now 19, the youngest is 15.

"Itataguyod ko ng maayos ang mga anak ko. Maghahanap-buhay ako kahit mahirap, kakayanin ko," he emphasized. 

For now, Lemon is hopeful that help will arrive, and his daughter will become healthy again.