We live in a world where cruelty and mass destruction’s evident. Petty crimes and major offenses are plastered all over the news and suddenly we’re all too scared to travel.
We start to feel unsafe wherever we go and we begin to judge people we barely even know.
And that’s why I decided to write this article.
In hopes of sparking the wanderlust spirit in you again, I’ve curated a list of kind-hearted people I’ve met along the way.
Here are 7 amazing individuals who prove that there’s still hope and goodness in each one of us; 7 reasons why all the negativity we see in the news or hear from other people should not stop us from opening our eyes and hearts to the beauty of this world.
1) Bali: The driver who gave us hope
My friend and I left the Philippines, excited and looking forward to our 3-day stay in Bali. It was a sponsored trip: 2-way airfare for me and my friend, hotel accommodation, and our personal driver.
We reached the airport at around 12 Midnight, collected our bags from the carousel at half past 1, and waited for our driver until 2. No one showed up, despite me trying to contact him, and despite our flight arriving almost an hour late.
Frustrated, and almost giving up hope, I walked around and past the shady drivers willing to “bring us home”. Suddenly, a man approached me holding out a business card and saying, “Don’t worry, I’m an airport driver. I’ll bring you to your hotel.” Quite hesitant at first, I accepted his offer.
Up until today, I still remember fearing for my friend’s life and mine. We were both teenagers then. Girls.
But meeting him was blessing in disguise. He dropped us safely to the hotel, and offered to tour us around Bali for the next 2 days. Not once, did he ever take advantage of me and my friend or our money. Not once, did he charge us more than what’s required. And not once, did he cross his boundaries with us.
Through him, we were able to explore most of Bali, meet inspiring locals, and taste authentic Balinese cuisines. He gave us hope that there are genuine people in the world, willing to go out of their way to lend you a helping hand.
2) Bangkok: The family who welcomed us to their home
Last November, my mom and I traveled to Bangkok for the second time. Upon arriving at the airport, Janthip and Bob were wildly waving their hands at us. We barely knew them and that was the first time we’ve met them in person. They (Janthip, Bob and his parents, and Pae) accommodated us into their house for 3 days, drove us around Bangkok, cooked us food, and treated us like family. Being with them overwhelmed me with joy and I would never forget how happy we were spending those 3 days with them.
3) Singapore: The random man who showed us kindness
Heading outside the Night Safari, and looking forward to seeing more of Singapore, my mom and I headed towards the taxi bay. Only to find out, there was no clear direction of where it is. To make it even worse, there wasn’t a single taxi from where we stood.
Flustered, I kept looking for a sign, but nothing. All of a sudden, someone tapped me from behind, “Excuse me miss, you were looking for a taxi?” I nodded and he gave us directions towards the nearest taxi bay.
He could’ve just walked off and not bother. But instead, he was kind enough to show us the way. Without him, we would’ve wandered further than we were supposed to. We got to Orchard Road safely and watched the street performers until midnight.
4) Vietnam: The cyclo driver who didn’t do it for the money
He was a very old and kind-hearted man who brought me to Saigon River just in time for my dinner cruise. Along the way, rain started to pour. Quickly, he covered the area where I was seated, and continued cycling. When we’ve arrived, he hopped off the cyclo and held an umbrella to keep me dry while I walked towards the cruise. I noticed that he was getting drenched, so I kept telling him that we could share the umbrella. His clothes were not even thick enough to hide his shivering! But all he said was, “Me okay. You keep safe.” I gave him tip, but he wouldn’t accept any of it. “No need money. Enjoy Ho Chi Minh,” he said.
5) Paris: The French who proved love knows no distance
Watching the Eiffel Tower glisten with so much beauty was already romantic on its own. But meeting a man, with an adorable beagle while it’s freezing at 2°C, was even more special for he proved how we can find love from someone living across the world.
He shared how he first traveled to the Philippines and met a Filipina. There was language barrier and major cultural differences between both of them but, “she makes me so happy. She showed me the other side of life, and I knew I can’t let her go.” He learnt Tagalog, met her family, and later proposed to her. They’re now both staying in France and happily engaged. He says, “She cooks very délicieux Filipino food! I fall in love with her more every single day, it’s crazy!”
6) Philippines: The traffic enforcer who cared
My country’s known for corrupt officials, dishonest taxi and pedicab drivers, pickpockets, and all that jazz. But that only makes up 1/4 of what Philippines really is.
Shameless plug coming… we have the best islands and one of the most beautiful and kind-hearted locals!
I stayed in the Philippines for almost 4 years to finish my university. To be completely honest, I despised it at first. But later, I learnt that there really is more to my country that what most people see.
Walking to my school, I didn’t know my phone slipped from my pocket until one traffic enforcer rushed to me shouting, “Miss miss! Phone mo nalaglag sa kalsada!” (Miss, your phone fell on the road!) Shocked that it was indeed my phone, and that a pedicab was fast approaching, I was glad the enforcer found it even before it smashed to pieces.
7) Sri Lanka: The local guide who gave meaning to customer service
Our first time in Sri Lanka was cut too short because of work. So when we met Fernando during our last day, he suggested we travel again to Sri Lanka around April and he’ll drive us around. I was ecstatic.
Seeing Fernando again, was like a ray of sunshine. He’s always smiling, ready to answer any question I throw at him, and such a kind-hearted man.
He picked us up from the airport, booked our hotels, and arranged the itinerary. Everything was so well planned that my mom and I didn’t have to worry about anything. Fernando brought us to places only locals knew, showed us every side of Sri Lanka, introduced us to wonderful locals, and even sacrificed not going back home to his family for almost a week just so we could leave the hotel as early as 8AM, reach our next destination on time, and enjoy the day as much as we can.
But what I love best about him is his genuine heart. He does things not for the sake of us paying him, but because he sincerely wants us to make the most out of our Sri Lanka trip. For that, he deserves even more recognition.
There are so many good people in the world, but we barely see it because we’re so clouded with all the negativity that’s happening around us.
Remember, we can’t change people. We can’t force them to make humane decisions, or to respect everyone despite colour, language, or whatever differences. But we can inspire them.
Don’t let fear stop you from traveling. Trust me, it’s the best education you’ll ever need.