The main bus station in Chiang Mai, Thailand
Does this Thai bus station look like a place where magical events take place? In my case, this is exactly what happened. At least it felt magical to me. There are some events in life which we never forget even though they happened a long time ago. It might have been a little thing, a kind word, a helping hand, a truly happy or beautiful or magical moment. In my case it was a simple heartfelt touch.
Young Thai monks waiting for their bus
Next to me sat a middle aged Thai woman. She kept glancing at my efforts with my ankle, and after a while she spontaneously stood up, went to a shop in the bus station and bought some tigerbalm.
She came back, grabbed my foot, put it on her lap, applied the cooling balm and started massaging it. She tried to say something in Thai, but our efforts in communication were hopeless since she did not speak any English, and in those days my Thai language skills were practically zero. So we just smiled at each other, the universal language.
After a while she had to catch her bus and left, smiling and happy that she had helped me, and I was just overwhelmed by the fact that a total stranger gave me a spontaneous foot massage in the waiting area of a bus station. It was such a simple and heartfelt act of kindness, and it was a moment which I will always remember although it happened about 14 years ago.
I wonder if this woman knows that her simple act of kindness reserved her a permanent space in my heart and mind, and that she gave me a memory that makes me feel good every time I think about it for the rest of my life?
Before you think that this is normal behavior in Thailand, you should know that Thais generally don’t touch each other in public. Massage is the one exception.
Click here to read a post explaining what kind of touching is considered acceptable and which one is just not done in Thailand.