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 virus was making, Thailand was going to be shut down for at least another month — or more. 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-at-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.