Have you ever received kindness from strangers? I have. It was the greatest feeling ever. It felt like everything is possible. Those memories I can’t never forget. Somewhere around the world I wish those people great happiness, health and well. I may not be able to recognize them but their kindness will never be forgotten.
That was back in the 1994 (according to my calculating).
A child around 6 years old and a woman around 47 years old were lost in a foreign country. They had nothing but empty pocket. The two were wandering around the city without knowing where to go and it was quite an afternoon. If by 5pm they couldn’t find a place to stay, they would sleep on the street with empty stomach. The child was scared and she wished she were back in her country. She started to recall her daily routine. Around this time she would go around to her neighbourhood’s house and fool around with her friends. She missed them already. She felt like crying but she didn’t know why she can’t. The child was hungry and she was sure that the woman was hungry as well. They kept walking and walking, still didn’t know where they were going. That child and that woman were me and my grandma.
My grandma lost her money when we were at the border between Cambodia and Vietnam. We didn’t know how we lost it. My grandma is a smart woman. Under any circumstance, she would always find a solution for both of us. If it was a deadline, she would go and sell her blood to get money for us. At that time around, hospital would buy your blood for little amount of money. My grandma didn’t mind about that as long as we would get some money to buy some food to keep us up for a day. I was scared. I could not imagine my grandma on the hospital’s bed and get her blood sucked out. I said no to that but I was sure my grandma would do it anyway if there was no other way.
We just kept walking and walking. The sun was still very harsh on us. Luckily there were a lot of trees around the city so we could stop by in the shade and rested. We saw some men talking to each other. My grandma approa ched them to see if they could help us a little bit. As she got closer she actually heard them speaking in Vietnamese! My grandma spoke to them for quite awhile and then she waved me to come to where they were standing.
“So this is your granddaughter? She’s so cute!” One man said, and the rest were smiling at me. I was like, ‘strangers’.
Another man spoke to me, “are you hungry little girl?”
I didn’t say anything but nodded. I was so shy to say anything especially when they were a bunch of strangers.
I saw them gathering together and collecting the money. I thought maybe they wanted to buy us some food but they actually gave the money to my grandma. One of them asked grandma to give me some money to buy some food for us. Grandma gave me two riel and the guys showed me to a small store to get food. I didn’t want to go because I didn’t speak Cambodian and I didn’t know anyone, but I had to go. I went to that small store one of the guy showed me. I gave the two riel to the woman. She smiled and said something I didn’t understand. She realized that I wasn’t Cambodian so she started to point at the food to see which one I wanted to get I guessed. I just pointed it randomly because I didn’t really know how the food would taste, also I was too hungry to be picky. Finally I got to hold the food in my hands and I couldn’t wait to be back to my grandma’s place to start eating.
I gave the plate to my grandma but she didn’t take it. She said, “you eat” then she continued to talk to the guys. They were labour people. They walked around the city to sell chicken feather brooms. All of the brooms were handmade and being sold very cheap. The brooms were beautiful and colourful. Only if you could see how they made it then you would appreciate it more because the final piece was a perfect beautiful broom, but to get that they had to go through whole lots of processes and the price was really cheap.
The food I got was the best food that I had ever had! Even though it didn’t look so good at all. I didn’t think I would ever eat that but I did and I finished the whole plate!
People always feel pity for the children when they hear some sad stories about the children. They feel sympathy and they will help the children as much as they can. So I did get sympathy from those people. My story was that me and my grandma came to Cambodia to find my mom because my grandma heard someone said that she saw my mom somewhere in Cambodia so my grandma decided to leave everything behind to go and find my mom. We made it to Cambodia but the thing was, we didn’t have anymore money to keep on going.
It was late in the afternoon already. The men had to go back to work. They asked if my grandma know any place to stay. My grandma told them we didn’t have anywhere to go and didn’t know where to go either. I could see a little silence. Then once again they gathered together and again they collected each other’s money. They wrote down the address for us and they even told my grandma very carefully how to get to the address. They called us a motobike guy to take us to that address.
We said good bye from there and I had never seen them again even though my grandma and I were living in the same community with them. The place was a Vietnamese community. Most of the Vietnamese people gathered together and lived there just like we have Chinatown here. The gap was they were always out working and coming back very late at night. Also, grandma told me she met them after that just to say thank you but I never got a chance to say thank you.
Life is full of surprises. You can’t predict what will happen to you. For one moment you think that you’re finished, suddenly miracle appears and save your life. Do you believe in guardian angel? For me, I do. Miracle is not some kind of supernatural flashlight to make thing they way you want but it’s a mystery of the Universe.
The people who help you out of their kindnesses are the people who never expect to get anything in return.