Hi all! This is the 17th collection of stories of Kindness on the Road. This is certainly going strong!
I’m currently in Cusco, Peru, a city I love so much that I’m definitely living here for a few months when I’m back in Peru next year. True, it’s cold here and the altitude is a bit high, but I love the colonial architecture you can find everywhere in the city, I like the food, I like the fact that it’s easy for me to find cats to pet, and best of all, I like the people.
For me, it’s the people that I meet on my travels that makes the difference. The attractions in a place can be the most beautiful in the world, but if the people are not welcoming, a place won’t feel like home.
In this month’s edition of Kindness on the Road, four travelers agree with me. I bring you the stories of Darlene, Joey and Krissy, Dante, and Stefan and Sebastien as they experienced kindness at the hands of strangers in Singapore, Myanmar, and Chile. Read their stories and regain your faith in humanity!
The Kind Bus Drivers in Singapore
Darlene Madrid is the blogger behind Point and Shoot + Wanderlust. She’s a self-confessed foodie with a gypsy soul who left the corporate jungle to become a freelancer and traveler. She dreams of someday owning and driving a food truck while traveling the world. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter.
I was backpacking solo in Southeast Asia and it was my first time to visit Singapore. I did not expect to be escorted to the Immigration Authority to be interviewed, but there I was, nervously waiting for the result while worrying that my bus from Malacca may have left me.
My worst fears came true when I got to the loading bay and my bus was already nowhere to be found. What’s worse was I have no means to contact my friend who I was visiting and I only had US dollars in my pocket. I had no other choice but to seek help.
I approached one bus driver and tried to ask him where his bus was going. “Tried” being the operative word because he barely knew English. The bus was going to Sentosa Island and I needed to go to Queens. I tried to relay to him my situation as best as I could while trying not to cry.
When he told me he could not drop me at Queens, my heart sank. I just said thank you and left. Unbeknownst to me, he talked to the other bus driver and asked him to give me a ride for free since they will be stopping at Queens.
With a sigh of relief, I thanked him profusely as well as the other bus driver. What a way to start my journey in Singapore!
Untold Kindness in Bagan (Myanmar)
Joey (Sky) and Krissy (Summer) are born and raised in the Philippines (Davao + Cagayan de Oro). They lived a mundane life until bitten by the famous travel bug, and the rest is history. They have an appetite for getting lost, basking on the beach, raiding temples, snapping picture-worthy landscapes, and gnawing on anything that is edible. They blog at Bound for Two. Follow them on Facebook and Twitter.
It was still dark when our bus reached the town proper of Bagan in Myanmar. We were approached by an uncle and was offered a horse cart service which would bring us to our hotel.
Along the journey, we realized that we left our sling bag on the bus, the bag that had all our important travel documents! We’d gone a bit hysterical and were literally crying, thinking of our great misfortune.
Thon-Thon, our horse cart driver, was a bit concerned and he fully understood our predicament. Despite the language barrier, he did his best to extend a helping hand and fully showed us what Burmese hospitality was like.
One thing that saved us was our bus ticket which we didn’t throw away. We found a contact number there and Thon-Thon borrowed a friend’s mobile phone to call the bus company. He was told our bus hasn’t arrived yet on the last destination.
Thon-Thon then asked some help from his local friends on how to track that bus until he got a lead on where it was heading. With the help of another friend, we all hired a private car and drove two hours past Old Bagan to reach that terminal. Then another guy told us where that company parked their buses.
When we reached it, we were able to retrieve the sling bag underneath our seat, still untouched. We heaved a huge sigh of relief; we couldn’t believe how far we’d gone just to recover our stuff. We were so grateful that we met Thon-Thon, uncle driver, and his other friends. God knows what would have happened if no one helped us.
We prayed to Buddha and wished Thon-Thon, uncle driver, and the other kind folks who’d helped us a lot of good karma. If you visit Bagan and meet Thon-Thon, please help us return the favor by employing his services. His kindness shouldn’t be left unpaid.
Extraordinary Kindness in Yangon (Myanmar)
Stefan (London) and Sebastien (France) are the Nomadic Boys. They met in London and quit their respective jobs (lawyer and IT geek) to travel the world indefinitely. Aside from traveling, they love cooking and eating. Follow their adventures on Facebook and Twitter.
We were humbled by the kindness of strangers earlier this year in Yangon, Myanmar after Stefan forgot our camera in the taxi on the way to the airport. It was only when we arrived in Bangkok, Thailand that we realized it!
We contacted our hotel in Yangon and to our surprise, we were told that the taxi driver had returned our camera. The hotel then asked around, and finally found guests to agree to bring the camera on their flight to Bangkok.
We were truly astonished and humbled by the kindness of that taxi driver and the hotel staff and guests of Three Seasons Guesthouse in Yangon.
Helped by a Friendly Teenager in Santiago (Chile)
Dante Harker is an author and travel blogger. Someone recently called him a Travel Influencer but he was not sure what that meant so he hasn’t spoken to them since. He’s an NLP Master Practitioner, hypnotherapist, Reiki Master, and diving instructor, among others. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter.
Even for experienced travelers, negotiating your way through a gargantuan bus terminal, with only limited knowledge of the language can (and often is) a hassle.
Once, after a fretful 30-hour coach journey from Argentina into Chile, we arrived in the capital, Santiago, ready to get on yet another bus. My husband and I must have looked like zombies (and lost ones at that) because an amazingly friendly teen came over and spoke in fantastic English to offer us some help.
It took a few moments for our cynical British nature to trust him, but after that, he directed us through the labyrinth terminal and walked all the way to the other side to help us find the right stop.
He did not require payment, nor did he come across as a weirdo. He was just a lively, helpful Chilean teenager eager to help and keen to practice some English. It turned out he’d actually learned English playing online computer games.
That incident really restored our faith in humanity!
Do you have any stories of kindness on the road? Send them to me and I’ll include them in a future post!
- The Tale of Tonyo the Brave - June 14, 2022
- Things To Do in São Paulo, Brazil: Visit the Consolação Cemetery - October 31, 2021
- Solo Travel Tips: Brussels, Belgium - February 17, 2021
Wow! These are really touching experiences. I have always always believed that there are way more good and helpful people in this world than the bad apples. Your experiences are yet another example that make me feel vindicated on this front.
Peru is also one of my favourite countries in the world! Love it! I’ve been so many times before I moved to Asia…
Aleah I love your idea of writing about kindness on the road, and collecting tales from other travelers! I really enjoyed the stories of the bus driver from Singapore, Thon Thon, the uncle driver and the taxi driver from Myanmar, and the teenager from Chile.
Before we start traveling we tend to think that the world is a dangerous place, but those who travel know that most people are friendly and helpful! I traveled alone for one year and experienced a lot of kindness on the road as well.
Now I have a lot of faith in humanity 🙂
Super post! Delighted to be a part of it 🙂