Dec 25 2011

“We can’t leave when there are still people in line. It’s Christmas, dude.”

Category: Children,Humanitarian,MJ Quotes,Photos,Quotes About MJSeven @ 12:16 am

Some of you have seen this story before. Some of you haven’t. Either way, it’s a heartwarming read.  In December, 1996, Gwen Carino was a PR officer at Manila Hotel, and was assigned to head the annual Orphan’s Christmas Party where 300 children from different orphanages around Metro Manila were treated to a day of fun and surprises.  It was a big project, to be sure, and the fact that Michael Jackson found out about the event and asked to help added to the pressure (and joy!) of Gwen’s job that day!

Below, Gwen tells the story about Michael’s love and graciousness during this event (emphasis mine):


by By Gwen J. Cariño


Handing out a loot bag to a boy during the Orphan‘s Christmas Party held at Manila Hotel on December 1996

MANILA, Philippines – When I was a PR officer at Manila Hotel, I was assigned to head the annual Orphan’s Christmas Party where 300 children from different orphanages around Metro Manila were treated to a day of fun and surprises. It was one of the biggest projects on my plate and it was such a challenge to focus on work the day before the big event, knowing Michael Jackson was billeted in the hotel.

Two nights before, I had been fortunate to be part of his welcome line at the hotel lobby together with the rest of the PR and sales staff but was content enough to see him walk by.

The day before, a guy claiming to be Michael Jackson’s aide from Mamarao Productions came to the office. I couldn’t recall his name but he looked for the “person in charge” and said his boss had read the announcement about the event in the Dear Guest flyers we had circulated to all the rooms a week before. Michael wanted to know how he could help. His aide went up to the Penthouse and down to the PR office several times after we gave our suggestions.

Michael offered to fill up the 300 loot bags with goodies and toys, candies and chocolates. But after getting close to 50 sponsors, it was actually a problem for us to dispose of everything.

So I thought hard…how can the King of Pop meaningfully join the affair? I couldn’t possibly have him be with the kids in the palayok game or the pabitin as he might end up being mobbed! And since the annual event was really all about giving, I mustered all my courage and told the Mamarao guy that the best thing I could think of was for Michael to literally be present to help distribute the loot bags, sign autographs and pose with the children for photos. “Wow, that may not be easy. You’re talking about handing goodie bags to 300 children and I can just imagine the chaos. We’ll see, Ms. Jacinto. I’ll get back to you,” he said.

Lunch break came and it was the most hurried one I ever took in my entire life. It wasn’t until after 5 p.m. that Michael‘s aide came back and said, “Michael is more than happy to do whatever you suggest. How do we go about it tomorrow?


I wanted to scream. I had to calm myself and regain composure as the Lizzie Maguire in me said, “Get real, get back into focus.

We agreed that Michael would join after the games, musical program and snacks, and at the last part to give out the loot bags. My colleague Annette Africano and boss Dulce Agnir requested for additional security around the garden and the stage area as this was where we decided to distribute the gifts. We made sure the children would form an orderly line.

Then the moment arrived. It was at the Champagne Gardens on Dec. 7, 1996. I was surprised to see him walking towards us, guided by his aide. Michael came up to me as I had to brief him.

Hi, how are you? Thanks so much for letting me in, I know I’m early ’coz I didn’t want to miss the program.

I said, “Are you kidding? Thanks so much for volunteering! Here’s what Michael, why don’t you just sit here and watch the musical numbers before we get into the gift giving. I will have to tweak the program a bit.”

He replied, “Sure, anything you say… (pausing to look at my name tag) Gwen!

I was stunned at how incredibly sweet and modest he was. And in my mind it was, “Oh my God, this is really happening!

Amazing how he patiently sat through the whole program. Carol Banawa, then an Ang TV mainstay couldn’t believe MJ was watching her perform. She had her red blouse signed by him right after her number. Then followed Stefano Mori’s dance number. Later, his back up singers and dancers came up on stage followed by select kids from different orphanages who danced to the beat of Billie Jean. Oh, the smile on Michael’s face was just amazing.

Then we announced that Michael will be distributing gifts onstage. I explained to him that there’s a loot bag for the younger kids and another for the older ones and he nodded. The thrill and excitement he gave those children was incredibly touching. It was in between the gift bag distribution that I caught a glimpse of MJ, not as a performer but as a person.

It was one in the afternoon. Santa Claus (David Endriga, a friend of fellow PR officer Francis Capistrano) was with us. The heat was scourging and I was worried that Michael felt so hot with his black long-sleeved signature attire and hat.

Are you alright Michael? We can let you take a break,” I asked.

He said,I’m cool Gwen. Just imagine how Santa feels inside his velvet suit and beard. We’ll be fine.

I never heard him complain or say a word about how hot it was or how long the line was. He had the most beautiful manners. He didn’t even ask for a drink or a towel to wipe his sweat but one of our banquet staff made sure he got a glass of fresh orange juice.

An hour passed and we were halfway through gift-giving when we noticed that the garden was getting filled up. Suddenly, there were people from media, politicians, officials and hotel guests including those in a wedding reception at the nearby Champagne Room who deserted the newly-weds just to get a glimpse of the King of Pop.

Oh oh, this isn’t supposed to be, I’m so sorry,” I said.It’s all right, we’ll get through it,” Michael said smiling.

As we finished giving out the last loot bag to an 11-year-old orphan, a new line of more kids and adults formed. Michael’s bodyguard, Wayne, said. “We can leave now.

Michael replied calmly,We can’t leave when there are still people in line. It’s Christmas, dude.

I felt my heart beat faster and the hair on my arms and the back of my neck stood up. He wasn’t just the most electrifying performer, but the most generous person.

One of the most memorable moments was when a lady came up to him for an autograph. Laughing and holding his tummy, he said “Hey Gwen, you’ve gotta check this out.” He whispered, “It’s a blank check. The lady is making me sign on a blank check.

We laughed hard and little did we know that it wasn’t even half of the comedy. He later showed me and Wayne other stuff people would use or pick up on the ground when they couldn’t find paper for him to sign on. One lady made him sign at the back of her elegant, designer Filipiniana gown. One teenager came up to him holding a dead leaf and another one, a popped balloon. Imagine how our laughter ballooned as well.

It was an amazing, genuine experience. At one point he asked if I was going to catch his History concert and I said “tomorrow night.

Oh, you’ll have a blast!” Michael told me.

At this point he became concerned about the stage as adults outnumbered the kids. His face had nervousness written all over it but he still didn’t complain. He tapped the wooden floor with his foot several times making sure it was sturdy enough not to fall apart. “I’ve experienced the stage collapse and I just want to make sure we’re all safe here,” he explained.

Half of me wanted the line to finish because we were literally melting and worried about our safety, but half of me didn’t, knowing that once the line ended, Michael will leave.

At some point it did end. I managed to get an autograph for my sisters and me before our general manager, Clem Pablo, requested him to sing Give Love on Christmas Day.

Cesar Sarino, one of the hotel’s officials, addressed his thank you note to the King of Pop. Then I saw his guards and aides whisking Michael off stage.

I said in my mind, “Oh man, I didn’t even have the chance to say goodbye.”

Suddenly, I saw Michael return on stage and say, “Thanks so much to you and your team, Gwen. This really means a lot.

Then he held me beside him and said, “I’ll see you at the concert.

As Michael Jackson is laid to rest and returned to pristine condition in the afterlife, these two incredible acts of the King of Pop — volunteering for charity and unselfishly spending time with the less fortunate, will forever be the way I will remember this man.

A short video of the event:

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30 Responses to ““We can’t leave when there are still people in line. It’s Christmas, dude.””

  1. Kathleen J says:

    What a truly beautiful story. Thank you for your tireless effort in putting these forth, Seven. The more I learn about Michael, the man, the more I love and respect him as another human being who had a goal on earth to heal and love. These stories were never in the media when they took place because they were positive. This is the side of MJ that so few are aware of. Every time you publish these I immediately start telling people about one more wonderful thing that MJ did. We need to educate the next generation of fans so they, too, know him for so much more than his musical talent.

  2. Linda F. says:

    It’s all for love. L.O.V.E.

  3. Susan says:

    Hi Seven:

    You know, I really wonder what would people like Diane Dimond, Nancy Grace and all those nasty media types say to all of these people who met and knew Michael and were witness to what a wonderful, sensitive, kind man he truly was. I’m sure they would still find a way to spin it in a negative way, though I don’t know how.

    These stories show the real Michael, not the caricature they still want us to see. My eyes fill with tears every time I read your posts. We will never get over his loss, never. Thank you, Seven, for keeping Michael’s spirit alive right here.

  4. Jacqueline M. says:

    I also feel like you. The more I lear about Michael, the more I love and respect him. And I miss him, too. But I find joy thinking that maybe God was needing another angel for Heaven and then he took Michael.

    I love these amazing things you write about Michael, especially about his love, kindness and caring for children. Can you imagine how much joy he gave to thousands of children in his wonderful Neverland? It’s sad to know that Michael was so hurt that he even said Neverland was not a home anymore…

    I loved this picture of him handing out the loot bag to the little boy. Look at his sweet smile… Even though many people still refuse to respect Michael and his humanitarian work, even though they hurt him, what is important is that God knows his heart, his love and everything he did for this world. I think God’s love for Michael is even bigger than all our love together.

  5. Tstorm says:

    Thank you , I had not heard this story . (sigh) Why didn’t we ever see these types of stories when he was still here ???

  6. Lisa D. says:

    Thank you Seven..
    This is one the stories I am putting in my book..I have read this many times over..and it always makes me cry. Michael was a the BRIGHTEST STAR in this planet. Michael’s HEART was as big as his creative genius. This particular story holds a more significant meaning to me then most, because I am a Filipino and Spanish, who was born in the Philippines. I was born into poverty..acute poverty. And in 1972, my mother met my step-father, and I have been in the USA since I was 7 years. I am now 43 years old. My heart is just like Michael’s..I love helping people, and making people and children happy. I have NEVER forgotten where I came from..And I promised GOD, Myself, and Michael that when I am able, I would love more than anything to go back to my homeland and give back..I would also love what Michael did all his life, travel around the world and just give to those in need and show that they are LOVE..and are LOVED..Micahel Jackson was LOVE..HE was an exceptual human being..I can’t even find the words to truly describe this man..there are none..All these people who tortured him; we all know who they are..DO NOT KNOW his HEART..because of their OWN ISSUES..that had nothing to do with Michael Jackson..MJ was their escapegoat..RIP my King, King of HEARTS…Michael is in my heart and soul Forever…

  7. BlueLotus says:

    Below are words of wisdom of Mother Teresa, looks like she is talking to Michael jackson…

    People are often unreasonable, irrational, and self-centered. Forgive them anyway.

    If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives. Be kind anyway.

    If you are successful, you will win some unfaithful friends and some genuine enemies. Succeed anyway.

    If you are honest and sincere people may deceive you. Be honest and sincere anyway.

    What you spend years creating, others could destroy overnight. Create anyway.

    If you find serenity and happiness, some may be jealous. Be happy anyway.

    The good you do today, will often be forgotten. Do good anyway.

    Give the best you have, and it will never be enough. Give your best anyway.

    In the final analysis, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway.

  8. BlueLotus says:

    And below is the classic poem IF by Rudard Kipling, I think this poem seems clearly about Michael…yes, Michael you were really a MAN!

    If you can keep your head when all about you
    Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
    If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
    But make allowance for their doubting too;
    If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
    Or, being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
    Or, being hated, don’t give way to hating,
    And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise;

    If you can dream – and not make dreams your master;
    If you can think – and not make thoughts your aim;
    If you can meet with triumph and disaster
    And treat those two imposters just the same;
    If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
    Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
    Or watch the things you gave your life to broken,
    And stoop and build ’em up with wornout tools;

    If you can make one heap of all your winnings
    And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
    And lose, and start again at your beginnings
    And never breath a word about your loss;
    If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
    To serve your turn long after they are gone,
    And so hold on when there is nothing in you
    Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on”;

    If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
    Or walk with kings – nor lose the common touch;
    If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you;
    If all men count with you, but none too much;
    If you can fill the unforgiving minute
    With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run –
    Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
    And – which is more – you’ll be a Man my son!

  9. gigi says:

    Oh this is a beautiful memory from Gwen Carino. Memories like this told by people that actually knew and spent time with Michael. Completely contradicts and is a constant slap in the medialiod and detractors face. I literally busted out laughing when I got to the part of that lady handing Michael a blank check to “autograph”. On one side I can see the humor in that situation, so did Michael. Now on the other side after reading this story and that moment several times. I’m still laughing at the boldness of that lady and saying to myself, what in the world this man was NOT the bank. Geez…some people are absolutely ridiculous.

    Thanks for sharing this story Seven.

    All I can say is Michael walked the walked. He gave and served from his heart.

  10. Susan T says:

    Just another reason to believe that Michael was more than a mere man–he was (and is!) an angelic creation! He came here to experience life as a human being and he chose the path of love and giving. His selfless acts of kindness, his sweet words of gentleness and sincere love flowed from him effortlessly. This is such a beautiful story! I wish I could just give him a great, big (((((HUG))))) and say,”Thank You”!

    Seven, perhaps one day you will decide to capture all these wonderful stories and publish a book. Each fan should purchase a copy and “hand-deliver” it to all his detractors. They tried to destroy him.

    God had other plans! He’s loved more now than when he walked the Earth. They failed and one day they will answer for their heartless deeds.

    Thank you, Michael! Your love inspires us daily!

  11. Lulu (Q.C.) says:

    Seven, thanks again. This is Lulu here from the Philippines. I first read Gwen’s article the day it came out in the local daily, Phil. Star. But reading it again here — oh boy… I am especially touched because it reminds of how close (well, somewhat) I came to Michael Jackson — when he was here, when I was in Tokyo at the time he was too, but I only came to really know him on June 25, 2009. What an amazing human being! Thanks so much again. God bless you.

  12. Cali MJ Fan says:

    What a wonderful story. So beautiful. I agree, this and so many other acts like this, is how MJ should be remembered.

    Also many thanks to Lulu (above) for sharing this link. Much L.O.V.E., Cali

  13. Joy John says:

    Isn’t he the most sweetest ever? He is different than other stars in hollywood… and I must admit that I appreciate his patience, endurance and gentleness with people. R.I.P… god bless his family, specially his mama and his kids!

  14. Dialdancer says:

    Dear Seven,

    I hadn’t read this story in a while. You can never forget how special Michael was, but you can forget individual stories. Thank you for ending my day with a perfect note of L.O.V.E.


  15. Ieva says:

    Thank You Seven… It was a beautiful story!

  16. smitm says:

    That was awesome! Thank you so much for sharing! 🙂

  17. Simona says:

    This got me crying hard…. I had never heard about this story, thank you so much for sharing, but it really breaks my heart – on and on again to be remembered of the preciousness we have lost – but what’s worst, of what the world did to him while he was among us. It breaks my soul. He was the loveliest spirit ever.
    @Bluelotus: Rudyard kipling’s IF Always makes me think of Michael! hugs 🙂

  18. AngelA says:

    thanks soo much for sharing this beautiful story
    it will forever show the true and only Michael
    it all for love L.O.V.E.

  19. Saskia says:

    Why do these stories always make me cry??
    I know why, I just can’t explain it.

    Thank you for yet again posting a beautifull story Seven. You must have a 7th sense to find these 🙂

  20. Peggy says:

    This is a wonderful story, thank you for sharing it with us.

  21. Jackie says:

    This is simply heart-melting story!! Michael is adorable! So Lovely!!!!
    There are no more people like Michael in this world and there will never be!!
    He didn’t have to keep signing!! That’s so amazing!!!


    I can imgaine Oprah’s face when she found out that Michael came to help in her own projact.
    But I am sure that instead of saying Thank You she just was jealous even more.

  22. Inga says:

    thank you Seven for sharing another wonderful story.
    Michael looked so happy, spreading L.O.V.E to people, especially children
    all over the world. He was so giving and loving, and it’s such a shame,
    that evil media does not want to see it!!!
    What an extraordinary man he was! Love, respect and adore him for all time…
    A Life without Michael Jackson on this planet is difficult to bear,
    but his Spirit is alive, and the loving fans feel it….
    Wish you a peaceful Christmas-time and a happy new year Seven.
    Love and blessings from Germany

  23. Anks says:

    Dear seven,

    Christmas greetings to you from India!

    Thankyou for sharing this beautiful story again! I first read it on another fan site when it was first published, and have read it many times since…it never ceases to inspire me, and nor does Michael!

    Michael was indeed special. He was blessed with the most extraordinary artistic talent that he dedicated his whole life to nurture and cultivate, only to give it back to the world, to inspire, to help, heal and bless others. But he was blessed with an even more extraordinary heart-beautiful, child-like, innocent, pure, corageous, compassionate, and filled with an amazing capacity to L.O.V.E ‘all’. The world was his family. All people, of all races were his own. His joys were theirs, their sorrows his. He felt their pain, their needs, their cries and gave his entire life to uplifting them. He lived to love, to give, to heal. But just like the Glorious one before him Who he looked up to, he was crucified(by the evil media and the likes). Simply, Michael was too good for this world. But those who could see his true beauty(the number is in millions, and rising!) know how grateful we are. And we thank God for blessing us with such a sacred gift. He shall forever be the one and only King of Pop, and the King of our hearts! Thankyou Michael! Your Light shines on and on for all to see, honour and be inspired by…You are forever and we truly love you more…!

  24. cris says:

    It’s Christmas time, therefore don’t heed the garbage! These creatures
    would need a soul to understand Michael… exactly what is missing them!

    There were always true stories about MJ, problem is they don’t get so much
    atention. All the people who have worked with him such as Slash & others
    who couldn’t be accused of worshiping him (by the media, of course) testify
    on his real character.
    But… he is here 🙂 It’s all for L.O.V.E. and you
    know L.O.V.E. lives forever. Can you feel it???

    Publishing a book with all these beautiful stories would be perfect, mostly
    for those who are manipulated by the media. Anyway, this site also gives
    the oportunity to know Michael just the way he is. Big Thank You for all
    your work. Michael is watching, I’m sure!

  25. P says:

    Thank you Seven, for this beautiful & heartwarming story, it gives me yet another glimpse of the REAL Michael instead of the media created 1. I can only hope that 1 day the TRUTH is finally revealed for the whole world to see in such a way that it can’t be denied!

    It hurts me to see how badly Michael was treated, I can only take solace in the fact that God had other plans and Mike is now with him never to be hurt again. My love for him is endless and grows stronger everyday, he will forever be a part of my heart!

  26. nessie says:

    Thank you for this present of a classic Christmas Story..helps keep the spirit going 😉
    Merry Christmas, Seven…and friends!!

  27. BlueLotus says:

    I am writing another comment on this this year…

    I finished reading “Honoring the Child Spirit” by Shumely in conversation with Michael Jackson. I cannot describe my feelings…I understand more deeply the thing between “children and Michael” and I now know that he could not have acted in any other way…he COULD NOT have been cautious. It was BEYOND HIM. Michael Jackson being did not end with the skin on his body but his being extended into all the children of the world…what was he to do if he felt their pain and joy in his bones?

    I am from India and I have heard that all enlightened people are child like…

    My 6 year old daughter is taking an immense liking to “Honoring the child spirit” book although many concepts are beyond her understanding…but she loves to hear me read the conversation between SB and Michael…I don’t know if she finally feels “understood” through the words of Michael or she feels delighted by the magical world she is part of as Michael explains…

    I know my relationship with my children stands for ever changed now. Thank u Michael…2 little girls have a different mother now…

    PS: I think fans should read the Honoring the child spirit and stop this thing about who is profiting. We must buy these positive books for 2 reasons
    1) Michael’s legacy needs to resurrected from the terrible negative publicity. These book help no matter the source. I know SB is a scum who wrote terrible things in his first book and I think this book is a result of his guilt but nevertheless if the people who blasted him speak positively that needs to be embraced. Tomorrow if Diane Dimond or Tom SNeddon write a positive book about MJ I will buy it!!

    2)This book has words of Michael and these are precious gems…u will never hear them from any other source. And if u allow, they will give u the glimpse into Michael like nothing else does.

  28. Sunny says:

    Weren’t we lucky to have this man on earth as long a we did?

  29. Sina says:

    Seven, I hope you and all of your visitors had a wonderful christmas.
    Thanks for the sweet xmas memories. I cant stop watching Michael handing out presents to the children and enjoying it as much as they do.
    Reminds me of what he told his mother as a child that once he would help sick and hungry children. He actually started when he was still a kid, when the Jackson brothers would do benefit concerts, visit childrens hospitals and give xmas presents to poor families. Then Michael took it to another level like everthing he did.
    Helping children is as much Michaels legacy as are his music,dance and short films.
    Thats why its a shame that some abuse his name to take advantage of people like myself and others who donate to charities in Michaels name.
    It seems that money for a vaccination pogram was never sent to UNICEF by the person who collected it.I hope the organisation that she was connected to , even if they are not to blame, will issue a statement what happened. Openness is the best policy as this reflects badly on the whole community.
    One more lesson learned how easily people are seduced to greed when money is involved. How can you take money that is meant for the health of children who cannot afford it.
    Its an insult to Michaels name and legacy and against everything he stood for. And a lesson to be more cautious who we trust with our money.

    @ Bluelotus, I appreciate your recommendation to read Michaels beautiful, uplifting words. Its another proof of Michaels sincere love and concern for children and its nice that it inspired you in your personal life. However, I disagree that fans should buy this or that regardles of who benefits(financially). No offence, but what you are basically saying is that if Murray has some recordings of Michael that will touch our hearts and one day sees fit to sell it or write a book about it,we should buy it regardles? The only difference with Schmuley is that Murrays would be against the law, but Schmuleys is equally immoral and unethical.
    I refuse to put money in the pockets of someone who Michael had cut off his life, who he never gave permission to publicize anything, who with creative bookkeeping filled his own pockets and caused Michales HTWF a bad name, who insists that Michael had a God complex, who wrote a series of articles about Michael full of derogatory, coldhearted comments even that Michael ” maybe guilty of serious terrible sins for which there might not be any forgiveness.”
    There is no reason whatsoever why this sorry excuse of a rabbi who is publically condemned by other rabbis for violating his ethical code should benefit on Michaels back.
    Besides they are Michaels words and for who wants to read it , there are many ways to without putting money in Schmuleys pockets.
    Sorry to preach but I feel very strongly about people who do these awful things to Michael and then make a profit of it.

    Looking back this was a year none of us could have imagined before june 25th 2009. We got to see Michael at his most vulnerable, secretly recorded in his most private place on earth, and worse. A man so keen on his privacy, it hurt.
    Justice was served and a serious warning to doctors that criminal conduct in their profession is unacceptable. That is unprecedented.

    Whatever came out of the trial,as painful as it was to hear and see, it filled me with so much compassion for Michael and made me love him even more.
    Thats why I hope never to hear the word ‘humanizing ‘Michael again.
    Michael was human and begged to be seen as such in his song Will you be there. He lived AND died in front of millions, under a microscope, scrutinized and judged. So personally I dont need to hear any more about his character flaws or what he was capable of doing in his personal relationships, to know that he was indeed human.
    With all that, he was still an exceptional human being, generous, gracious, warm, giving, loving, a good man with a big heart, one we will never see again in our lifetime.
    I dont have to know or understand everything about him to accept him for who he is, believe in him and love him.

    Seven,thank you for honouring this great man, for the information,the sweet, sad and silly stories
    A deep bow to you and all the bloggers who selflessly fight for Michaels human rights, against tabloid media, bias and untruthful reporting, to restore his name and honour his legacy.
    So much was won for Michael this year. You are a blessing.
    What I appreciate most about you Seven, is that when someone asks you something you dont know, you just say I dont know. That speaks of your integrity and grace.
    I hope next year the focus will be more on Michaels music, dance, fashionstyle, films, poems, art, speeches, philosophy and humanitarian work and the endless footage there is that keeps his memory alive.
    Sorry for taking so much space, there is no other way to express how I feel and Im very bad at editing 🙂

    I wish everyone a Happy Peaceful Fun New Year with lots of Michael-love and inspiration.

  30. Michelle says:

    Another beautiful story! Michael is/was such a sweetheart.

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