Tuesday, October 19, 2010

A Day in the Life

Tonight I was sitting in my hotel room watching television when I got a phone call from Aki Ra. We’d spent the day getting his visa at the US embassy in Phnom Penh and running errands in town. We’d finished a phone interview with Voice of America at 8pm and he and a friend finally got a chance to go to his favorite restaurant in town and have Chinese dumplings. I went back to the hotel to get some rest.

At 9:45 he called me. While eating dinner one of the waitresses had collapsed on the floor. She couldn’t move or speak. The owner simply picked her up and tossed her out the door, telling her if she couldn’t work, she couldn’t stay.

Aki Ra went outside, picked her up, got a taxi and took her to a clinic down the street. When I got there she’d been there 30 minutes. Seems she had been working long, long hours and had collapsed from exhaustion. The doctor had treated her, given her some medication and she was recovering. When I got there she sat up, crying, and thanked Aki Ra for his help.

Aki Ra had called one of her friends, who came to the clinic to be with her. She got her prescription filled, we paid the $7 bill and Aki Ra was taking her home to rest.

He’d had a serious conversation with the restaurant owner also.

He was bewildered that anyone would toss a human being into the street like a bag of garbage. He’s going to check on her the next couple of days while he waits for his visa to be prepared.

He'd never met her before in his life.

Makes me even happier I nominated him as a CNN Hero.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It is in a way no shock that people do treat other people like this - this is by far not the worst thing people are capable of - but what always gets to me is failing to understanding HOW people can do it? Are their lives so cheap that other lives mean nothing? And yet this was a wealthy man. How do people get to view other people as "sub-human" or less than themselves? Are there any answers to those questions? I hope there are because I need to hold onto the hope that such things are understandable and through understanding change can occur.

In the meantime all we can do is do the right thing where-ever possible and treat all people with dignity and respect.