Trouble in Thailand

My chance encounter took place in Bangkok airport in August of 2009, when I was 22. I had just finished working on an Archaeological dig at Scladina Cave (website is in French) and was headed off to Thailand to meet my best friend. She had been living and working in Japan and I thought Thailand was a good compromise on flight times for both of us. She would have to return to Japan and I would have to return to Europe for another dig.

We had a great time in Thailand and as it was time to leave we packed our bags. Our flights were a few hours apart but I wanted to say goodbye at the airport so I went with her. She went past security not to be see for a long time, almost a year.

I could have taken a taxi back into the city but by the time I did that I would have gotten to town in time to go to sleep to get up and go back to the airport. I figured in  cheap backpackers style that I would just sleep at the airport for free and save myself a bit of money.

So I found myself a little area where the chairs had no arm rests so I could lay across all of them and be a bit more comfortable. I was sitting and reading and a man sat down next to me and started talking to me. I talk back because I don’t know how to tell people to go away and the original iPod had only come out 10 months before and as a poor student I didn’t have one and couldn’t have headphones in to ignore people.

So we are talking about travelling and life then this man is telling me about himself and his work with human rights in Thailand and how he is spreading the word of Jesus.He starts telling me about his son, then about the problems he has. He tells me the mother of his son, a Thai woman, and how she has custody. He says this is because the Thai government will side with the mother over the father always, unless the father has a wife. The tells me he’s tried for custody despite that and lost. His poor son lives a life in destitute because his more is poor and he can’t take him back to America to raise him.

He keeps going on and on and I feel bad for him. I try to encourage him, be supportive but somewhere near the end of the story it clicks for me, this man is in and out of Thailand and he got a woman he doesn’t really know pregnant… The man sleeps with Thai prostitutes and does it unprotected (I guess) because he got one pregnant.

Then the end of the story comes and he looks at me and  he says “So, will you help me out?” And in that moment I was speechless, all he got from me was a “HUH?” He tells me he’ll take care of the costs, make sure I’m comfortable and support me, help me with the paper work, he has a house for me to live in, it doesn’t have to be forever only until he gets custody. I was still a little lost but with a dawning realization of fear in the back of my mind I ask him what exactly he wanted me to do. “Marry me and help me get custody of my son.”

WHAT THE FUCK?!?!?!?!?!?

I heard him but I couldn’t believe him. Who asks a stranger they’ve talked to for an hour in an airport to marry them. Especially why the airport when I am literally on my way out of the country. I’m not sure there are words to respond to such a proposal. I told him I was unable to help him, spewed all these excuses. He said it was alright, thanked me for listening and hoped I had safe travels and hoped God blessed me. Then he walked away.

My first marriage proposal and it wasn’t romantic or spontaneous or touching, it was a stranger with a business proposal. The kicker is he was 45 to my 22. I think he was just a dirty pervert looking to suck young naive girls in.

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