I was in the second leg of a trip from San Francisco to Singapore via Japan Airlines. Normally, I have no beef with JAL as I find their crews generally friendly and helpful.
After the first leg — an 11-hour flight where an equipment change landed me in a middle seat of three instead of the exit aisle I’d reserved, I was looking forward to my aisle seat on the second flight. It was still not comfortable for the 7-hour flight, but luckily I was in the back where the plane was more sparsely populated.
Mr. Gui, whose name I learned when he introduced himself upon my entering his taxi, was an unusual cab driver. I have ridden in many cabs around the world and I can say that he was among the top 5 I’ve ever encountered.
We were entranced when we met 3-year-old Gaa at the Good Shepherd Sisters Hands of Hope sewing center in Nang Khai, Thailand during our Together We Can Change the World visit.
Gaa is an exuberant child, full of energy and laughter. He was the only child at the center as it’s for the adults working there.
So Gaa stood out as he played quietly by himself, or with us when we approached him. Soon after our arrival, I inflated a large pink balloon and presented it to him. I enjoyed watching his glee as he batted it around then hung on to it protectively.
I asked our guide why he was there since there were no other children present. I was told his story.
If we were rescued at the last minute in a war-torn country, we would be eternally grateful to those involved in the rescue. Few — if any — of us would expect to hear the rescuer said we changed their life. But before I tell that story, let me give you some context.
It was a beautiful sunny day in Vientiane, Laos. One of my travel buddies, Susan, and I decided to rent bicycles ($3/day) and explore the Mekong River shoreline bike path 3 blocks away. Most of the way we had the path to ourselves, but occasionally we’d come upon boy monks or other explorers. We carefully wove among the shoreline sidewalk restaurants until we came to the end of the paved path after an hour.