Psalm 31:10 says, “A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies.” And while I’m confident that is true, let me tell you what is hard to find and worth more than rubies in my book…a TRUSTWORTHY car mechanic.
I’m no gear head and certainly did not marry one either. We were fortunate and grateful to have several family members that helped us with our cars when we lived in Minnesota. When we moved to Thailand, we loved the freedom of not having a car, and didn’t have one for four years. Life with twins changed everything for us. I’m actually not sure we would have jumped on the car bandwagon if we had had a singleton babe either. Car maintenance and repair just stress me out, even more so living overseas due to the language barrier and just finding someone you can trust. With Mike busy at work and me being the one who has had Thai language lessons, the car has been primarily my responsibility. Joy.
Let me tell you about Khun Tawee though. Oh my gracious…is he ever a gem. He is the simply the sweetest. He is probably in his late 50’s, essentially knows NO ENGLISH except for, “God bless you”, which he regularly says whenever he says goodbye to me. He lovingly laughs at my horrible car Thai…which basically consists of me guessing what’s wrong with the car, looking up a few words, butchering them, and then making awful car-like sounds to help him diagnose the problem. Sometimes it is me showing him a video I took of the car doing something weird and simply asking if he can fix it. He is patient and kind, knows his stuff, is trustworthy, and goes out of his way to help me.
This past week, we got stuck on the highway due to an unknown radiator leak. Thank goodness it didn’t happen on our beach trip a few days earlier. We are also so grateful it happened right next to the roadside assistance highway office too! We were able to temporarily fix the problem and then bring it to Khun Tawee the following day.
When I called him the next day to see if he was in and told him I’d be there in just a little bit. I had already explained that the radiator was having a problem and that we had gotten stuck on the side of the road, so when I didn’t come right away, he called me to make sure I was okay and not stuck somewhere! When I finally did get there, he quickly diagnosed the radiator problem and told me it was an easy fix but would take a while because he needed to take the engine out of the car to reach the problem. I anticipated being without the car for the rest of the week and started mentally preparing myself for that. I also told him about the tire leak we started having and asked him to check that out too.
Now here is where he goes above and beyond…whenever I drop the car off, he ALWAYS gives me a ride home. It’s only a five minute ride, but man, I’m so grateful for his kindness. This time though I needed to go get some school work done at a nearby coffee shop and then go grocery shopping, so I just asked him to bring the end of the street where I could catch a taxi. He was having none of it. He drove me to the coffee shop.
Khun Tawee called me THAT NIGHT to tell me the car was done and that I could pick it up in the morning. He later texted me the cost. The next morning, the kids wanted to make brownies and pictures for him before we got the car. When we arrived, he was so excited to see how much the kids had grown and LOVED getting the pictures (and maybe the brownies?! Hard to say since Thai treats are so different than American treats). When I told him I was so surprised he was done with the car because I thought it would take a long time, he said, “I have a lot of cars to fix right now. But I did it special for you because you have small kids and you’re pregnant, so it’s hard to be without a car.” I could have hugged his neck right then and there. When his wife handed me the broken down bill, it was 120baht more than what he had texted me (about $4). Khun Tawee told me the extra 120b was for the tire patch, since there had been a nail in it, but never mind paying him for it because he had already texted me the price and because he had just received pictures and brownies. He kept telling me, “It’s a gift!” Bless his heart.
In a country where I can feel so very out of place and uncomfortable, especially when dealing with things that are stressors, I’m so grateful for people like Khun Tawee that make those stressors feel manageable. He is gift.