I went to the shuttle bus stop to buy a ticket to the grocery store. I could’ve saved a dollar or two by getting into the back of an old truck with a bench running along each side of its cab, aka “local bus” but if I was going to be out on the road during this dangerous holiday I’d rather be in a big relatively safe bus. However I was told the 3pm bus wasn’t coming and since I didn’t want to wait for the next one I told the ticket lady no thanks and was going to head to the local bus stop.
However before I did I noticed there were two young Chinese ladies to my left trying to get to Phuket and the ticket lady was telling them that there were no buses because of the holiday and recommended they take a private taxi to cover the 3 hour journey. I told them in Chinese that there were buses and I just happened to be going by the bus station so we left together but before we made it to the road I was attacked by what I’m guessing was the owner or manager. He charged at me yelling in broken English saying “You speak Chinese to them!” and shoved me and continued to shove me as I was like “Yeah I told them there were buses and I happened to be going by the bus station.” but he kept yelling in my face and shoving me hoping I’d shove him back so we could begin exchanging punches like two dumb monkeys.
Although I was taller and had the reach advantage he outweighed me however I think most of his bravery was due to the fact he had two minions behind him. One of them actually came up and got a little push in himself just to show the boss he had his back. Even after I made it to the street and we were walking away the boss started coming after me again before his little minions held him back. The girls were pretty shocked and having just stepped off the plane and visiting Thailand for the first time asked me if this sort of thing happened often and I was like NO and as we walked by the police station I asked if they would validate my story however one of them was a bit worried and mentioned she heard about the police here being corrupt so I said don’t worry about it.
Regardless even if nothing came of me reporting it I had a duty to do so otherwise I would have been an accomplice to my attacker. At least if the event was recorded and the psycho tries anything crazy with anyone else in the future the police can look back and say, mmm, this doesn’t seem to be the first time we’ve heard about you or the first time you’ve denied any wrongdoing which I’m sure he will when they visit him tomorrow. It’s unfortunate because only he could understand Chinese so I’m sure the liar will say I said this and I said that and nobody other than me and those two girls will know otherwise. Moreover he’ll probably say I was the one shoving him and his employees will probably all stay silent or even lie in order to back him up.
The lessons of the story are don’t be weak and unable to defend yourself because regardless of how much of a non-violent monk you think you are you may just have to kick somebody’s ass. Fortunately in this case by taking a few shoves which actually scraped my hand and nearly broke my umbrella I was able to avoid a fight. The other lesson is that if someone is being lied to or ripped off you as a fellow human should help them. The final lesson is when someone does something seriously wrong you have a responsibility to report it even if you don’t think anything good will come out of doing so otherwise you will become an accomplice to your attacker and set up the next innocent and unsuspecting person to be a victim of a similar scam, assault, or whatever it may be. So in addition to going out of my way to speak with the Tourist Police I also sent this blog post to the Tourism Authority.
P.S. The two girls told me they were being asked to pay $100 (3500THB) to take what I suspect was an unregistered private taxi since “there were no buses” and were grateful for my assistance. When we got to the bus station I told the driver to give me a minute and I quickly confirmed that there was a bus going to Phuket that it would be leaving in 15 minutes and that a ticket would cost $4.13 (145THB). Much cheaper and safer, particularly for two young women who spoke only a little English and no Thai. Moreover it’s a lot more environmentally friendly to take a bus that’s already en route than a taxi which has no reason to be on the road let alone take a 3 hour drive. Also as we were leaving the shuttle bus station just after the attack the psycho pointed at me and said “I know you.” so if anything happens to me you’ll know it was planned from K.R. Mansion Hotel in Krabi.