I fished a little late last night (caught one very small catfish) and, therefore, was a bit late getting dinner and cleaning up for a night of pool, planning on going to the quieter, more expat-friendly Soi 80 bar district. But if I don’t get to the songtaew taxi pickup at Soi 41 before 9 pm, I’m left with two options – walk the mile or so to the main bar district or the half mile or so to the main highway, where I can pick up a motorcycle taxi to get to Soi 80.
As luck would have it, I missed the Soi 41 taxi by literally one minute, the lights of the taxi seen about a block away. So I opted for option #2.
Once I made it to Petchkessam Road, there were no taxis available, so I waited on the corner, hoping that one of the cheaper green songtaews would come by a few minutes past quitting time. None came. Finally, after standing there for 10-15 minutes, the most amazing thing happened.
A Thai man approached me and asked if I needed a ride. I figured he was a taxi driver, although they don’t typically get out of their cars to ask if you need a ride. “How much?” I asked. “Free,” he said.
Totally disregarding the advice many people would give, I walked with him to his car as he asked where I was headed. “We saw you standing here for some time so we thought you might want a ride,” the stranger said.
I got in the back seat. The man’s wife was in the driver’s seat. She spoke good English.
After thanking them profusely, they took off down the highway to deliver me to Soi 80. I had no idea where they were originally headed. We talked as she drove.
She is a senior sales manager for Colliers International, a company I worked with some in my Atlanta International Magazine days. Colliers has built some condo residential areas to the south of Hua Hin, which she is involved in selling.
Because of the Songkran holiday traffic, the city has erected some center-road barriers at the Soi 80 intersection, before and beyond, so my hosts had to drive even further, turn around and then go off on some side streets to avoid the traffic jam. They ended up dropping me off at the west end of Soi 80.
Now, eventually, I would have been able to hail a motorcycle taxi when I was standing on the street corner, but this act of kindness pretty much changed my attitude for the evening. This couple did not have to offer me a ride; I didn’t even notice them in their car as I stood on the street corner.
So I thank you, Kamonwan Youngponkunt (we exchanged business cards), and your husband. Your kindness is greatly appreciated as I try to assimilate into this new home. You will not be forgotten.