The land of good samaritans
Sometimes you can find help when you least expect it
What would you do if your hat fell on a soi while riding a fast running motorcycle? Would you pick up the hat? Would you rather ignore it for it was inexpensive? Guess what I did? I ignored it. But to my surprise, a woman in jeans and helmet (not a motorcycle driver) handed me my hat.
Incidentallly, two weeks before that, I was carrying my lap top and a bag of laundry on my right shoulder when my bag of clothes slipped. I stopped the motorcycle driver. When I got off, a man from a motorcycle handed me my bag.
How touched I was by these incidents.
But what happened last November has given me the impression that there are a lot of good samaritans in Thailand. I was going to Chiangmai to report for work. I booked for the 10:10 pm train trip to Changmai from Laksi Station. An hour before that, I was already at the station. But when departure time came, no train had come. I asked from the information but I was told to wait for it was delayed. I think I waited for exactly an hour when a train finally showed up.
I immediately got into the train. I looked for my seat but one good Thai man politely remarked, "Mai pen lai kap." So I settled on a nearest vacant seat. Feeling exhausted that day, I fell to sleep. When I woke up it was already 7:00 o'clock in the morning. I looked outside. The place looked unfamiliar for this was my second trip to Chiangmai via train. A young Thai lady was already seated next to me. So I asked,"Pai nai kap?" She answered. "Pai Nongkai Ka". "Oh, my God," I exclaimed. "I got the wrong train." Right away, I stood up and looked for somebody who could speak English. Luckily I found one. The saying, "Seek and ye shall find," worked this time. He told me not to worry because we would be in Kon Khaen in an hour. From there I could get a bus for Chiangmai.
I took his advice. Unfortunately, when the bus was nearing Sukhothai, my stomach started to grumble. The only solution was to relieve myself. Thus upon reaching the bus station, I proceeded to the toilet. I was so certain I didn't stay long but when I got out, my bus had gone. I was terribly worried as all my possessions - my money, passport, lap top, and everything I had - was on that bus.
I went to information right away. They calmed me down saying that I could get my things in Chiangmai. I was relieved but still very anxious. Imagine, I had to wait for two hours before the next trip was off to Chiangmai. I was anxious for it would be 8 hours before I could determine the safety of my valuables.
In Chiangmai Station, buses that already arrived for hours were out of sight. I went around the whole station and its vicinity looking for my bus, but I failed. Thanks to one kind motorcycle driver who offered help for a hundred baht .We went from one gasoline station to another. I thought he was only fooling me just to earn money, but I was wrong. On the 5th station I saw my bus being washed. The conductor asked, " Pai ti nai kap?" Without hesitation he got on the bus and came back with my bags. I quickly checked my valuables like an ‘eager beaver' Wonder of wonders, my things were untouched. I was very much relieved I had my things back. I couldn't help but exclaim, "This is really Thailand."
My story has not ended yet. For it was already past midnight, I hired the same motorcycle driver to take me to Hangdong about 10-12 kilometers away from the bus station. When I arrived at my school, the gate was locked. The compound is 20 hectares in size. There was no doorbell. I had to knock hard several times as if I were taking out my anger on the gate for my delay and inconvenience. Nobody answered. Finally I gave up and went to the nearby "talat" to pass the night.
While waiting for just a few moments, an 18 year old boy came and offered help like heaven sent. That time I forgot being cautious perhaps due to exhaustion and relapse from intense worry. I never thought that I could be robbed, mauled or left for dead. After all I was a stranger. At first I was hesitant but I accepted. So I rode with him on his motorcycle and slept in his house. Thank you to this good Samaritan.
The next morning, he drove me to school in his car.
Through these experiences, I learned that there are a lot of good Samaritans in this country. But in every rule there is always an exception. So I have to be more careful with my things next time. There won't be a second time will there? More importantly, I must take care of my passport. I don't have the money to get another one, do I? Secondly, wherever I go, I should always bring my ATM with me.
When riding public buses for long distance trips, during stopovers, I'll be more conscious of time. I will tell my seatmate or neighbor where I am going. Better still, I'll ask permission from the conductor or the driver. Bus tickets are important too. I must keep them safe while I'm on the bus. For my own benefit, I should know my bus and bus number. Lastly, before my trip, I'll have my phone fully charged. I'll try to minimize unimportant calls during my trip and save my battery for emergencies.
There are good foreign Samaritans everywhere, but there are even more in this country. This gives us the desire to stay here and call it a home away from home.