After giving the soon-to-be-unemployed barmaids extra money a couple weeks ago to tide them over, I realized that would not be enough. With the inroads the coronavirus was making, Thailand was going to be shut down for at least another month or two. The women would be hurting, big time.
Fortunately, I knew what to do. In Thailand, one can transfer money to other people’s bank accounts using an ATM — a feature I’ve come to rely on as my philanthropy has grown. Using this, I could continue to provide assistance and on short notice. All that was needed was the girls’ banking information, which they wrote down for me.
I made my April Support Payments last week, a day before the please-stay-home government request kicked in. I used my favorite ATM in front of the Omni Tower, one that has never eaten my card. In addition to the barmaids, I put money into the accounts of two other deserving Thai women. (One of them happens to be a masseuse, but not the pushy kind.) The operation required some serious concentration, consulting my notes, typing in account numbers and amounts, then double checking to be sure I wasn’t accidentally paying someone twice. I felt like a clerk working at the local Unemployment Office. But this was far safer than going out and hand delivering cash to four different people, praying I would not pick up the virus along the way.
Everyone sent me a thank you email or text afterwards for my generosity, two of them adding what a fine person they think I am. Well, maybe. It’s actually more a sense of responsibility coming from my good fortune a few years back. Being aware of when I can make a difference.