​Vietnamese man gives free ambulance rides to people in need

Vietnamese man gives free ambulance rides to people in need
Nguyen Tan Chinh sits beside an old woman that he has regularly taken to hospital in his own ambulance, at her home in Ho Chi Minh City’s neighboring province of Ba Ria-Vung Tau Province, Vietnam. Photo: Tu Sang / Tuoi Tre

A man in southern Vietnam has for two years enthusiastically offered would-be hospital patients, especially poor ones, free rides in the ambulance he bought.

A septuagenarian woman in Ba Ria-Vung Tau Province, next to Ho Chi Minh City, heard footsteps from her entrance gate and mustered her old strength to lift her head from the pillow.

Tears welled up in her eyes at the sight of a 46-year-old local man named Nguyen Tan Chinh, who has given her a lot of help.

“She’s old and has suffered from a disease for a few years,” Chinh told Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper after sitting down by her sickbed.

“She’s happy to see me but failed to fight tears because she’s scared of death.”

Her daughter said the senior has been bedridden as result of a stroke two years ago and was taken to hospital multiple times for medical treatment.

“She was hospitalized every four days in the early days but now a hospital visit is made monthly,” the daughter said.

“All the rides were provided by Chinh,” she added.

“He didn’t receive a penny. I sometimes called him up just after midnight when my mom had a health problem. He never complained at all about that.”

Chinh, with above-average incomes, said he had always wanted to own an ambulance so that he could take people to hospital for free, and two years ago he bought a second-hand one at nearly VND500 million ($21,590).

The event that motivated his decision came in early 2017, when he was rushed to hospital in a car since he had been wounded in a football game.

“The driver was very kind. He carried me on his back from my house to the car and then from the car to the emergency ward,” he recalled.

“I was very touched by the thought that he’s really kind to me although we’re not relatives.

“I then entertained the hope of buying an ambulance so that I can give gratis rides to hospital to poor people or those who are not disadvantaged but have an unexpected accident or disease.”

He places the vehicle at his home and always makes sure the tank is full of petrol.

He was occasionally called for the ride service in the middle of a meal and decided to stop eating to rapidly arrive at the people in trouble.

“I sometimes drove the ambulance from a morning to the dawn of the next one. The journeys were to Ho Chi Minh City.”

“I offered the service to anyone, rich and poor.”

“Some occupants bled and urinated in my ambulance out of intense pain. I’m not afraid of those sights as I accepted to provide the service.”

The ambulance has accumulatively carried over 200 people over the past two years, with a ride offered every one or two days.

He is planning to buy one more ambulance to meet the high demand of people visiting hospitals for renal dialysis and regular medical examinations.

Chinh also gives free coffins to people who die in poverty and joining the public-spirited deed is a low-income woman known as Nguyen Thi Hoa.

Nguyen Thi Hoa is seen at his grocery in Ba Ria-Vung Tau Province, southern Vietnam. Photo: Tu Sang / Tuoi Tre
Nguyen Thi Hoa is seen at his grocery in Ba Ria-Vung Tau Province, southern Vietnam. Photo: Tu Sang / Tuoi Tre

Hoa collects rice from charities and gives it to poor people and asks him to those who she knew died in destitution, Chinh said.

The woman said she has worked as a laborer since childhood and has five children, one of whom died while the oldest is housebound in the wake of a stroke.

Her family’s modest earnings come chiefly from the grocery she and her husband run in Ba Ria-Vung Tau.

She said several years ago she persuaded Chinh to buy a coffin for a body found floating in a river and she covered costs associated with coffin decorations so that the deceased could have decent burial.

“I’m poor and I’m willing to help people poorer than me,” she said.