Random Acts of Kindness?

How often do you hear about dishonest Thais€ around the tourist areas?  Thais trying to cheat you, pickpocket you, and take advantage of you in so many various ways?  I hear and read about it all the time, yet in over eight years in Thailand I’ve RARELY personally experienced such treatment first hand.  In fact, my experiences are quite the contrary!

Last year I was in the Pranburi area with my assistant when the rivets holding the main strap on my leg brace broke.  I can barely walk without my leg brace and driving becomes near impossible.  What are the chances of me finding a proper sized rivet and rivet gun to effect a repair in the late afternoon of such a sleepy village?

Stopping at a motorcycle repair shop the Thai couple immediately saw my plight and came to my aid.  They didn’t have the rivet, but after making sure I was comfortable in their home with a tall glass of cold tea they took off on a motorbike and returned over an hour later with the rivets needed to repair my brace.

I tried to pay them and they refused!  All they wanted was to chat for a bit and help a foreigner passing through their town.  They were obviously of simple means and when I once again tried to pay for their services they almost took it as an insult.  Later that afternoon I bought some BBQ chickens, beer, and other treats and showed up on their doorstep to share a meal.  They were delighted!

Last week I was taking pictures at Wat Pho.  My wallet was brimming with grey sharks and I was carrying over $20,000 USD worth of expensive camera gear.  Having just recovered (obviously not all the way) from a serious bout of E-coli, when the temps hit 44C and the humidity shot way up, I started to feel a bit light-headed.  Suddenly things started spinning and everything went dark.

I was a perfect target to take advantage of, but several Thai men came to my aid with cold wet towels to revive me, and helped carry me to my car where my assistant had pulled it around.  They were careful to make sure my gear was protected and my health was their main worry.  I’ve rarely been treated with such kindness.

I was in too bad of shape to immediately return and properly thank them, but I will next week for sure!

Were these truly “random acts of kindness”, or were they really just the Thai way?  Perhaps both.  I very much enjoy living in this country and interacting with the locals and these two experiences while not unique, certainly refresh my faith in my fellow man.

Until next time..