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99 Yellow Cars

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I rode a city bus to and fro my university during the late 1990s. At that time, the LRT-2 line began its construction, so the commute was kind of a hassle. I always looked out through the bus window and observed the workers and other students walking on the sidewalk under the heat of the sun. The traffic wasn’t as congested compared to today because there were less cars, although the jeepney, tricycle, and padyak drivers were as undisciplined as ever.

G Liner city bus
An old G Liner bus. Image courtesy of nighteye on Flickr.

In one of those bus rides, I was listening to this morning radio dj and she mentioned about the yellow cars. She said that when you’re able to completely count ninety-nine yellow cars, you can make a wish and it will come true. Of course, to me it was absurd but I thought I’d give it a try since there was nothing else to do (or lose). Remember, this was during the years when there were no smart phones or tablets yet. You kill time either by reading, by listening to music on your casette or CD player, or by enduring the long ride doing nothing.

Eight yellow vehicles but only one is counted. Can you find it?
Image credit: Imgur/Reddit

The rule was: you can include any yellow car to the count except for taxis, vans, trucks, or other public utility vehicles. After counting ninety-nine of them, you make a wish and it will come true.

It took me two years to complete counting. Even then, a yellow car was rare. I can’t recall what the wish was, but I’m sure it was about a (romantic) relationship with someone. Sadly, it didn’t come to pass.

The Yellow Car Phenomenon

Last Sunday as I was in the shower, I was trying to think of my blog post from years back about the yellow cars. I realized that I can’t retrieve it, so I decided to write about it again. I logged on to my computer and tried to search for it using the Wayback Machine but it wasn’t there anymore. I did, however, encounter an insightful take on the ‘yellow cars.’

“Change the way you look at things and things change the way they look.” Lee Colan writes in his article How to Use The Yellow Car Phenomenon. He adds, “When people become aware of something–a problem, a trend or an opportunity to excel–they tend to see more of that thing. I call this the yellow car phenomenon.”

Yellow Volkswagen Bettle.
Image: Getty Images

It made a lot of sense. If we focus on the good things then we see more of those good things. The Yellow Car Phenomenon is more than just a wish, rather, it teaches us to be more aware of the great experiences that make life meaningful.

Colan asks us to “open our eyes to excellence,” but there’s more to it. Opening ourselves to these circumstances AND accepting them and applying them to our lives make it a richer experience.

So, when was the last time that you saw a yellow car?

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