|Trần Quốc Việt (left) transports vegetables to Hội Linh Pagoda. Photo vietnamnet.vn
CẦN THƠ — Trần Quốc Việt, a 50-year-old man living in Cần Thơ 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.
Việt, residing in Ninh Kiều District, starts work at 5am every day to take food from kind-hearted traders at local markets to donate to charity.
Việt 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 Tân An market to get vegetables from traders then transport them to temples and charity homes across Cần Thơ and the neighbouring province of Hậu 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.
Phùng Kim Thảo, a wholesale vegetable seller at Tân An market, is a fan of Việt's work.
“I have goods, he has a vehicle, we contribute together a little to charity activities," she said.
Wholesale vegetable sellers at Tân 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 Việt to bring to pagodas and charities.
The first stop is Hội Linh Pagoda in Bình Thủy District. The monk who presides over the pagoda said: "Not everyone can do it like Việt, 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 Hội Linh Pagoda, he continues to charity kitchens in local hospitals. The last stop is a pagoda located in Ninh Kiều 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.
Việt 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 Cần Thơ and Hậu 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.”
Việt said the charity work was fun for him and when he was busy, his close friend Phan Thành Nam was also available to assist.
Every Sunday morning, Việt 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