I like to walk among people . . . I enjoy being part of the crowd and notice the people around me. It makes me feel that we are all the same, human beings going through life. There are many horrible things, unpleasant situations, and disappointing events that happen to us, and there are also some nice surprises that occur from time to time. By doing so, I know that I am not different from them; we all have stories to tell . . . with tears.
Walking makes me become part of this world. I do not feel that I am above anyone or suffer more than any person. I feel the humanity in me and I am content by that feeling.
I came across a young boy on a public sky train (BTS) one day. He was probably 6 or 7 years old of age. He was very small and thin and carried a big basket containing items for sale. It was clearly heavier than his small body could handle. I noticed he managed to walk for 5 meters, then had to stop and give himself a shoulder break in order to shake out his tired arms.
I moved closer to him to take a better look at what he was carrying. It was some sort of scent for sale. It was priced at only 10 Baht/piece. (Normally, people buy 1 piece at a time, and it is not even popular.) Then, I started to think that a bottle of water was already 10 Baht here in Bangkok. Now, my marketing brain kicked in and began to calculate his operating costs.
Daily street food for 3 meals = 120 Baht
1.5 litter of water = 30 Baht
Transportation = 80 Bath
(For non-Thai friends reading this blog, 10 Thai Baht = 33 US cents)
Total daily operating cost for keeping him standing by the road side = 230 Baht
I deducted 30% from the sale price for product cost. This will yield the profit margin of 7 Baht/piece. This rough calculation told me that he had to sell 33 items daily to sustain a basic living — not an easy turnover for a person to achieve for that kind of product.
I approached the boy and asked . . .
Nalisa: Brother, what do you sell?
The Boy: I sell "Karaboon" krub (he said in a normal voice).
At that point, I was close enough to notice the burn scars all over his face and entire left arm.
I pulled out a 100 Baht bill, handed it to him and said: “Brother, this is for your dinner tonight.” I smiled and walked away.
I was not hurt or sad by seeing him in that condition. I was not worried about him.
I did not try to imagine that he might be part of the beggar crews or allow my imagination to influence further thoughts.
A 100 Baht didn’t make me rich or poor, but that 100 Baht was my compassion toward the boy as another human being who goes through life like I do . . . and I care.
If you are feeling that life sucks and you are mired in deep shit, take off and walk . . . Walk among people and pay attention to the crowds. And you will know you are not alone in this wild world. We are all with you, and going through life like you do.
PS: Thank you, Al D Silva, for going through the language of this post with me.