Buddha, Pepper Spray, and The Mad Taxi Driver

I had just arrived into Bangkok one evening and after checking into the hotel, showering, and grabbing a bite I went out to grab a few cold ones before closing time. I wandered into a place off of Sukhumvit past Asoke but I can’t remember the name nor have I ever been able to find the place on subsequent trips. Sometimes Bangkok is like that.

The place was pretty dead which suited me fine because I just wanted to relax and unwind after a 14 hour flight. I got to chatting with the bartender who was a moderately attractive gal in her late 20’s.

During our conversation she mentioned that she carries a can of pepper spray in her purse. I asked her why as I was always under the impression that things were generally safer in Thailand than a lot of places I’ve been to around the world.

She said that she lived on the outskirts of Bangkok in a village. She was taking a taxi home one evening and the driver lost the plot yelling and screaming at her. She says she had no idea what set him off but I think she was intentionally leaving that part of the story out.

The taxi driver pulls over the car and she locks the doors thinking this guy might rape or kill her; perhaps both. She finally bolted out of the opposite door and took off. The taxi driver got in his car and left her there where she had about a 2 mile walk home.

You could see the fear in her eyes when she told the story and when she was through she turned to the Buddha statue above the bar, gave it a wai, and told me that she goes to temple every week and thanks Buddha for protecting her from harm that evening.

After some chitchat about her experience I asked her if she had ever had to use her pepper spray. She said she used it once. She said that there’s a dog in her village that comes out and barks at her when she comes home at night.

Similar to the fear you could see in her eyes when she spoke about the taxi driver incident you could see a bit of an evil glee in her as she told me what happened next.

The dog came out and started barking at her as was usual. She went to her purse and gave the dog a good shot of pepper spray in the face and it went off yelping. The dog doesn’t bother her anymore. She said the last part with a particularly evil laugh.

Now, I consider myself a professional at taking the piss out of people so I waited for the right moment after she was done laughing but still smiling and asked her “Do you think Buddha saved you that night so you could spray the dog with your pepper spray?”

She searched her mind for a way to reconcile taking so much joy in harming that dog. Finally, with a look on her face that was a mix of confusion and guilt, she said that she would go to the temple in the morning before coming to work and pray to Buddha for her bad deed.