To Thai people, are you Just a Walking ATM ?
When my rental bike, much to my chagrin, ran out of petrol about 2 km from the hire shop, the hassle was exacerbated by the fact that I had my luggage with me. After toting a big bag for a while I noticed a hardware shop, which I optimistically thought might sell bottled fuel. Trying to keep the grin in my chagrin, I walked in and asked.
The proprietor regretted the fact that he didn’t sell petrol but then, asking his wife to take over, drove me around free of charge, to and fro and hither and thither, until he eventually found a petrol station that was open. It was really quite a humbling experience - he wouldn’t accept a tip, he was just doing it for my sake, and for his karma.
Yes, in a country whose top industry is tourism, you are a walking ATM, but you are not ‘just’ a walking ATM in Thailand.
If you ever start to feel that Thai people think of you as just a walking ATM, try hitch-hiking somewhere: you don’t even need to bother putting a thumb out and within minutes or even seconds someone will stop and smilingly offer you a free ride to wherever you are going, often going out of their way for you.
Whilst this is unremarkable behaviour in the West when the hitchhiker is beautiful and female, personally I would expect to have to walk all the way from Britain’s Land’s End to John’o’Groats without anybody offering me a lift.
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