A girl from the northern mountainous province of Thái Nguyên has confessed on social media that, thanks to some unfortunate timing with regards to her bowel, she had to pay triple the price for her journey from the province to Hà Nội, from around VNĐ70,000 (US$3) to VNĐ200,000 ($8.8).
Such a sum is not much for an adult with a stable income in the big city, but for students like her, it adds up to more than 10 bình dân (low-priced) meals.
The incident began when the bus she was on was travelling too fast, passing all rest stops without stopping.
She recalled her desperation to use the bathroom from about halfway through the journey, but felt hopeless when the driver ignored her pleas to stop. Finally, after numerous tearful requests, he stopped near a forest in Sóc Sơn, about 40km from the city centre.
Despite the driver’s insistence that she hurry, it took 20 minutes for her to do her business. To the young girl’s shock and horror, on returning, the bus was nowhere to be seen.
“What a heartless and cruel driver!” she thought.
Alone on an empty road in the middle of nowhere, the only option was to begin walking.
The girl set off to walk the rest of the way, until a xe ôm (motorbike driver) approached and asked if she needed a lift. She was scared and angry after the ordeal, but the motorbike driver seemed trustworthy, all apart from the high price he suggested. She accepted, ready to endure the financial loss if it meant she could arrive in time at university.
The girl tried to post her story on Facebook to gain some much needed sympathy and warn others who may find themselves in similar sticky situations.
Instead, her post stirred up many insights and suggestions. Some declared that when travelling by bus, you should bring empty plastic bottle and plastic bags in case the need strikes you. Others said that for those with intestinal problems, medicine is the best solution.
Some placed the blame on the bus company, saying they should post regular rest stops on the timetables, and stick to them! — VNS