Eager to prove that a minor incident involving a rude Thai bus driver during a recent trip to Thailand did not affect his love for the country, a Norwegian man sent a photo of a tattoo on the back of his neck which reads “I Love Thailand” to the Thai authorities.
The photo of the tattoo made its way through the system all the way to the Minister of Tourism, Somsak Purisrisak, and the tale of the tattooed Thailand-fan is now found in several media.
It all started when Jon Helga Vaeng took the night bus from Phuket to Hua Hin. When the bus arrived in Phuket, he wanted to take his suitcase out on his own seeing as he could not see the driver. When he showed up, Jon Helga Vaeng was removing his suitcase from the bus.
“He was very mad, yelled and banged the side of the bus. My suitcase had loosened small piece of metal from the bus, when I pulled it out. He shouted in Thai and I became both angry and a bit scared,” said Jon Helga Vaeng.
After returning to the hotel Jon Helga Vaeng sent a complaint about the behavior of the driver to the bus company. He heard nothing from the company and the complaint was sent on to different authorities in Thailand. It was not until he sent the complaint to the Thai Embassy in Oslo that it was picked up.
“They did a follow up and a week later I received an apology from the department for transport. The driver was sorry for the incident and explained that he was tired after driving all night.”
Jon Helga Vaeng was so pleased with the proceedings that he decided to send a reply.
”I wrote that I saw it as an isolated incident and that the matter had been resolved for me. I also wrote that I only have kind words for Thais and that I see them as polite and very friendly.”
In addition, Jon Helga Vaeng attached a photo of his first and only tattoo – a neck piece that reads “I love Thailand.” The tattoo which was made on his first trip to Thailand last year was sent on in the system till it reached the Thai Minister of Tourism, Somsak Purisrisak.
”He has actually used my case at a press conference as an example of how important it is to take the complaints of tourists seriously. I really appreciate that they liked the tattoo,” said Jon Helga Vaeng.