It was a decade ago that a coincidence of fate happened to me. I still have a crystal clear memory of what took place. This memory always brings me a great joy, an intense bliss. One of my female friends used to tell me a story about a mysterious man with a happy smile on her face, something akin to elation. I had never expected that one year after hearing her story of that mysterious man, fate would handle me a similar experience.
This incident occurred in one dark evening of 1999 in New Zealand. That day was cold and windy. It was the day that my apartment contract terminated so I had to pack all my belongings and moved to another apartment. I was waiting for a taxi in the street with my suitcases and four other boxes. I was anxious to find a taxi to go to my new apartment in town. It was an unfortunate day for me as I waited for more than 2 hours, not even one taxi came along on that street.
The sun was setting and dusk gradually covered the sky. Out of nowhere, a taxi appeared. I hailed it and got on board. I got more and more anxious when I started to see the face of the taxi driver clearly. He looked very intimidating, an Asian face, dark complexion with unruly mop of hair. He gave me an impression of not to be trusted. I was afraid of him even though he did not do anything to threaten me. He just simply exuded fear. But I had no choice. If I had not got in this taxi, God knows how many hours another taxi would come my way. I sat in the taxi with so much anxiety.
During the journey, the taxi driver asked about my background, whether I came from Thailand and made a comment that I looked very much like a Thai national. I was very surprised to hear his questions and he seemed to know a lot about my country. The more he asked me, the more I became afraid of him. How was this conversation leading to?!
Then he asked me a personal question in English,
“How is your beloved father? Is he in good health?”
I replied that my father was well. We talked on the phone almost every day.
The taxi driver continued his questions, “How is his health condition? Please convey my profound respect and best regards. I really miss him. Also my greetings to your father.”
I was puzzled but nodded and told him that when I returned home, I would bring his greetings and best wishes to my father. I just wanted the conversation to end. I was confused and surprised why he talked to me a lot, not a normal behaviour of taxi drivers in New Zealand.
He seemed to be in a very cheerful mood talking to me while I was so afraid of him and starting to get very suspicious of his intention.
Finally, the taxi reached my new apartment building. I hurriedly got out (almost jumped) of the taxi. The taxi driver took my luggage and boxes out of the trunk and enthusiastically carried them up the stairs to my apartment with a happy smile. When he put all my belongings in front of my apartment door, he reached out both of his hands and put them on my shoulders, squeezing them while saying in a tender voice in Thai, my own language.
“Dearest brother. I am very happy to meet a Thai person. It has been more than 20 years since I moved to New Zealand that I met a Thai. Today is a wonderful day for me to meet you. I feel as if I have been reunited with my close relative. I come from the country located nearby Thailand. I emigrated to New Zealand two decades ago. It is rare to meet Thai people in this part of New Zealand”.
“Because of the grand gesture and benevolence of His Majesty the King of Thailand who gave me a place for shelter in the land of Siam when we escaped death and persecution during the civil war in my home land, that my family and I, who were refugees, could have an opportunity to start a new life, a hopeful life in a new country.”
“We are able to live and enjoy this good life only because of His Majesty’s generosity, the generosity that extends beyond the borders of Thailand. We are deeply grateful.”
He took out his wallet, opened it and showed me a picture, “I have kept this photo in my wallet for many years. I keep this picture to remind me of the debt that my family and I owe to the generosity of His Majesty King Bhumibol. His Majesty is always in your hearts. We respect and love him. He is our source of moral support and strength to carry on and live our lives.?
He shook hands with me and took the banknote in my hand that I meant to give him for the taxi fare and instead put it in my shirt’s pocket. He told me before he left that “Today I come to bring my brother to his new home”.
I now understood his first question in the taxi enquiring about my beloved father. My beloved and deeply respected father. I also understood the reason that he kept the photo of His Majesty the King and Her Majesty the Queen of Thailand in their camouflage uniforms visiting citizens in rural and remote areas of Thailand. It had been more than 20 years but he still kept that picture in his wallet.
This joyful memory brings me sheer bliss. Words cannot describe the depth of love and respect that Thai people and our neighbours hold in their hearts for His Majesty.
We love the King.. Long live His Majesty….
A True Story of Kibangkok
This article was translated from Thai language to English language by the Dr.Krisana fan club.
This true story was firstly published in Thai Language in 2007 and become a popular article forward mail in Thailand which posted in many websites at....