Motorbike taxi driver gives back to charity

Tran Quoc Viet, a 50-year-old man living in Can Tho City, has used his second-hand motorbike to work a part-time job as a free-of-charge deliveryman for local charities and pagodas over the last 15 years. 

Motorbike taxi driver gives back to charity
Tran Quoc Viet (left) transports vegetables to Hoi Linh Pagoda. Photo: VNN

Viet, residing in Ninh Kieu District, starts work at 5am every day to take food from kind-hearted traders at local markets to donate to charity. 

Viet works as a xe ôm (motorbike taxi) driver to earn a living but spends hours every day doing charity work.

His daily schedule included going to Tan An Market to get vegetables from traders then transport them to temples and charity homes across Can Tho and the neighbouring province of Hau Giang.

“It has been my regular job for the last 15 years, whether it is rainy or sunny,” he said.

He said there were days when the price of food went up and sellers gave less, as well as days when the market was full of goods and sellers called him at 3am-4am to tell him to bring vegetables to pagodas and charity kitchens in hospitals.

Phung Kim Thao, a wholesale vegetable seller at Tan An Market, is a fan of Viet's work.

“I have goods, he has a vehicle, we contribute together a little to charity activities," she said.

Wholesale vegetable sellers at Tan An Market start in the early morning (about 4am) every day and finish at about 6am. They typically collect any leftover fresh vegetables to give to Viet to bring to pagodas and charities. 

The first stop is Hoi Linh Pagoda in Binh Thuy District. The monk who presides over the pagoda said: "Not everyone can do it like Viet, they have to own a kindhearted mind to do it. If anyone does charity but calculates their benefits, they will surely not be able to do it.”

Leaving Hoi Linh Pagoda, he continues to charity kitchens in local hospitals. The last stop is a pagoda located in Ninh Kieu District where he also helps do some cleaning and works as a parking attendant.

About 9 or 10pm he starts working as a xe ôm driver to make a living. Luckily, he has many patrons so his job was stable.

 

Viet said 15 years ago, he faced many unfortunate incidents, like suffering a traffic accident and having a small stroke.

He went to a local pagoda, listened to the monks' advice, then worked free jobs such as cleaner and parking attendant.

He knew vegetable sellers in local markets wanted to donate food to the pagoda but there was no delivery man.

'When I am having difficulties, I am assisted by hidden people. So I think I have to do something to help the community.”

Initially, he only carried vegetables and rice to the pagodas. In the last four years, he also transported food to hospital charity kitchens in Can Tho and Hau Giang.

“Sometimes I meet hardship in heavy rainy or intense sunny days. But I feel peaceful and sleep very well," he said.

"Sometimes on the road, my old motorbike suffers a flat tire. But shop owners are ready to repair free for me when they know I am carrying vegetables to the pagoda.”

Viet said the charity work was fun for him and when he was busy, his close friend Phan Thanh Nam was also available to assist.

Every Sunday morning, Viet also goes to a charity centre to help cook rice and congee for the poor.

“I will contribute to charity until I can't do it anymore,” he said.  VNS

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