On Assignment

The Kindness of Strangers (Cont'd)


“Oh don’t worry, I’ll sleep here,” I said.

He wagged a finger at me.  “You can’t do that.”  He got out and walked down the main street, knocking on doors until he found a hut that had women and children inside, and convinced them to put me up for the night.  The next morning he was outside their door at 5AM, honking for me to climb back into his cab.

Three days later we finally reached a fork in the road.  I thanked him as I climbed down.  “Who is going to drive you?” he asked.

“Oh don’t worry, I’ll find a ride,” I assured him.

Rice PaddyHe wagged his finger at me.  “You can’t do that.”  He drove me around until he found another truck driver that he knew and trusted, and handed me to him. 

I hitchhiked through northern Vietnam for three months.  I never got a ride.  I never had to find myself a meal or a place to stay.  I was passed from one person to the next until I found myself back in Hanoi, at almost the same spot that I had begun - but now with an indestructable faith in the kindness of strangers in what had once been a war-torn land.