Many years ago, I went to Thailand for the first time. I had an amazing two weeks of adventure, shopping and new experiences.
On the final day of my holiday, I had to travel 3 hours by bus to Bangkok from Koh Samet, before heading to the airport and back to the UK. To my horror, on arrival at the bus station in Bangkok, I found that my backpack was missing from the luggage hold. Upset and bereft I asked the bus company to write me a report, which they unsympathetically refused to do even though I would I need it for my insurance claim.
I was in floods of tears, more with frustration than anything else, lost without my things and needing to catch my flight to the UK at midnight. From out of nowhere, a lovely Thai girl came to my rescue, asking what the matter was and if she could help in any way. I explained the situation and asked her where the nearest police station was. She waved over a waiting tuk-tuk driver, gave him instructions to take me to the police station and very kindly paid the fare. The trauma of losing my bag was easing from her kindness.
I arrived at the police station to be greeted by a very helpful police officer, his English limited, my Thai zero. We mimed and performed to explain the list of items that were in my missing backpack and how he could help, which ended up being quite funny really.
Once the report was finished, my evening was looking up! The very kind policeman offered to take me to dinner and to drive me to the airport to catch my flight. As I knew I was leaving the country that night and there would be no untoward consequences, I accepted his offer and we went for a nice meal after which he took me to the airport as promised.
Sated with food and generosity, I arrived to catch my flight, all set to head home after the longest day of my trip, so far… to discover that the flight was already full! I would not be able to fly until the next day. Flightless and baggage-less, my prior exuberance plummeted. Eventually the airline did arrange for me to stay in the very plush Airport Hotel, with meal vouchers included. This in fact turned out to be a blessing, as delicious as it was, the meal with the policeman seemed to be playing havoc with my stomach, so a clean and comfortable hotel bathroom was a far preferable place to be than squeezed into an airplane toilet with a queue outside the door!!!
I finally made it home, and after claiming on my insurance for the loss of my rucksack, I returned to Thailand, for 3 wonderful months. I never put my luggage in the hold of a Thai bus though ever again!!! Or allowed a policeman to take me to dinner…