It Had To Happen
Had To Happen
There I was cruising along minding my own business in the far right lane when out of the blue there is a ratty old pickup right in front of me……. It had to happen. My trusty old Suzuki had been a good car for the past 6 years and had made 108,000+ Km and it HAD never been in an accident. Until yesterday. We had just run to the store for some groceries and were on the way home. The road is nice with three lanes in both directions. BUT there is an exit from the ring road on the far left and "the locals" try to cut across three lanes of traffic to try and turn right at a U-turn about 50 meters past the exit instead of going up another 100 yards to the next U-turn. There I was minding my own business when I spotted the pickup diagonally across the lanes of traffic trying to make the U-turn. The driver was giving the Thai hillbilly signal for I'm going this way and don't care about other cars, he was busy flapping his arm up and down in that signal you will see upcountry at every intersection. They think it gives them the right of way if they wave the "Magic hand signal". WELL in this case he was mistaken. I saw him after he had made the other two lanes swerve out of the way and I had no where to go. In the short amount of seconds available I tried all the tricks of the trade to avoid him, like pumping the brakes, trying to go around him etc. I thought I had made it past with millimeters to spare but didn't see the BIG chrome dog bumper that went across the front of the grille and around the front fenders sticking out about 2 inches wider than the front fender. Yep caught that bumper and it pulled me into clipping his front fender. NOW THE FUN BEGINS. After a few seconds to check for injuries and to compose myself I leaped out to confront the dirty bastard. There it was, every farang's nightmare, a dirty ratty old pickup covered with the little stickers of Elvis, Che, and Sylvester Stallone from the movie Cobra. For those of you that have never been here, the highway cops pass out those stickers to truck drivers that have paid their "Toll fees" for free passage and no bother from the cops. To top it off sitting on the dashboard was a "Highway Police" baseball cap.
I thought to myself "It's fuck the farang time". But something was wrong, the other guy was nervous as hell, he was jumping around like a grasshopper on some Isaan bar girl's dinner plate, he was hopping from one leg to the other like he had to piss. THEN I GOT A LOOK AT HIM…. he was large for a Thai about 6' and had a large beer gut….. it gets worse… he had his short sleeved shirt unbuttoned down to his navel and he was covered with TATTOOS. I automatically think "O NO" a mafia guy. Apple confirmed it telling me to
stop yelling at the guy "he's a bad man". I'm telling him to stay right here as we had called the cops and he is looking around at the crowd that had gathered at the local papaya salad stand. He made a move to get back in his truck and I tried to block his way and he raised his fist to try and swing at me and I was sure he was going to "Flee the scene" so I moved in front of his truck to stop him, after a couple of seconds of him gunning the engine I finally figured out that standing here was probably not a good idea as he was likely to run me down. Then the light bulb in my brain came on…… he was stupid enough to leave his door unlocked so I moved around to the driver's door and when he was looking to the rear for a space in traffic I yanked his door open and when he looked at me in surprise …………………… shot him right in the snoot with half a canister of good old, made in the USA, 10% police strength, PEPPER SPRAY. Needless to say he didn't get far, he kinda drifted off to the shoulder and got out and reached into the pickup bed and came out with a long handled shovel and started my way…. he didn't take more than two steps when he had a coughing and puking spell and threw down the shovel and ran off looking for water. He found a pail of water at the papaya salad stand and took a few good minutes washing his face and eyes. He was on the shoulder making all the threatening gestures that Thais make when confronted but when he started toward the middle of the road toward where I was directing traffic I nonchalantly took the pepper spray out of my pocket and casually tossed it up and down in my hand and he got the idea and never came toward me again.
A cop finally arrived and he looked things over and took down our information and then the plot thickens, it turns out he doesn't have: Drivers license, insurance, or registration papers for the truck. No wonder he wanted to "Flee the scene". We waited and waited and then his Boss and owner of the truck shows up and he's even bigger than this guy. Even the cop waied this guy and I thought "I'm in trouble now". After Apple found out the boss really is a Mafia guy who runs all the mini busses in this territory and all the locals know him. Well my insurance guy finally shows up and he takes down all the information again and we stand around again until two more officer type cops arrive and they take down the information for the third time and the other guy is complaining about me gassing him and to my surprise they tell him to sit down and shut up.
Well it turns out they can't make a decision on the spot and we all must adjourn to the local police station. I'm being nice and calm keeping a low profile after thinking gassing this guy may have been a mistake but he is ranting and raving swinging his arms around being a general pain in the ass toward the cops.
We all have to go to the station but Apple receives permission to take our groceries home as it is only 5 minutes from our house. She gets a taxi and off she goes…….. she dumps the supplies at our house and goes to the main road and flags down a taxi and was about to get in when……… yep the taxi gets plowed into from the rear, she's freaked out but grabs another taxi and proceeds to the station.
We are all at the station Apple, my insurance guy, all the cops that had been at the scene, and Apple waiting for the other driver to show up. well now we have to wait in line at the desk of another cop who when he is finally free takes down our information for the FORTH TIME and fines the guy 400 baht for driving like an asshole, now he is really pissed moaning about getting fined 10% of his monthly pay and I'm thinking he got off light not having to pay anything for not having insurance, registration, and license. He's still ranting about getting gassed and a bright red rash is appearing on his face where the gas hit him and he goes off to pay his fine. While he is gone the forth cop asks me if I really gassed him and I fess up and he laughs and said that's not good to do, but I tell him this other guy was real big and my other Thai cop buddies said it would be better to gas a Thai rather than kick his ass and he laughed and asked me to get him some gas next time I go to America. He asked how long I had been here and when I told him 10 years he seemed to like the fact that I liked Thailand. The asshole paid his fine and we were free to go.
Now the bad news, since the asshole didn't have any insurance my insurance will pay to fix my car but MY RATES WILL BE GOING UP. I asked him why my rates will be going up when the other driver was in the wrong and didn't have any insurance, why doesn't my insurance company sue the other guys for the damages, he looked at me like I was a moron and said this is Thailand and the other guy had nothing to sue for.
Was it worth it? The asshole ruined my fender and was only fined 400 Baht and the cops let him drive away knowing full well he didn't have a license but the look on his face when he tried to "Flee the scene" and the gas hit him in the snoot made the whole incident a little easier to take.
The whole time the cops treated me correctly and I spoke only when spoken to and didn't complain about waiting and going to the police station and I never felt any bias from this group of cops and it worked out ok with no "Farang fine" or any other troubles for being a farang. THIS TIME.
Post story note
Stick, after thinking about my latest accident I remembered why I was carrying Pepper spray and thought this little story could prevent others from getting into big trouble. I don't know where you could fit it in but it is important to the male farang population.
About 9 years ago I had been in Thailand for only a short time when my car was struck from behind on Sukhumvit Road. This time the guy didn't even bother to slow down just took off "fleeing the scene" . Well being the brash American that I am I immediately took off after the other car. It was the classic hot pursuit through the streets an alleys behind Robinsons Department Store with pedestrians fleeing the street to get out of the way of two speeding cars. The guy made a mistake and pulled in behind a bank on Asoke and a very nice bus driver saw what was going on and blocked the entrance with his bus. The other driver had no where to go with the bus blocking the exit and me right behind him. Naturally I jumped out with adrenaline roaring through my veins after that harrowing chase. I pulled the driver out of his vehicle through the drunken driver's open window while he was yelling in Thai for the crowd to help him get away from this crazed farang. In the process of "subduing" this guy he "fell" to the pavement and scraped his elbow in the process. He looked at his elbow and saw a minuscule amount of blood was seeping from a scrape the size of a pin head. He calmly looked me in the eye and said "I've got you now" in English, little did I know. Well to make a long story short we were required to go to the Thong Lor police station to straighten this all out. When we got there I learned to my horror that Thai blood is SACRED and ANY AMOUNT NO MATTER HOW SMALL SPILLED BY A NON THAI IS BIG TROUBLE. The Thong Lor boys in brown were ready to lock me up right then and there and put some kind of stamp in my passport that I was undesirable and not to be allowed back into Thailand all for a cut the size of one we all got as a kid and ran home to show mommy and she kissed it and sent us back out without even a band-aid.
Fortunately I had made friends with some of the cops on Patpong and they were called and came down to my rescue and it ended up with his being fined 5,000 for drunk driving and I agreed to pay for my own car damages. Not a bad deal as I was looking at jail time and banishment and the damage to my car was minimal.
The purpose of this story is to bring to all you guys out there the FACT that if you draw ANY AMOUNT of blood no matter how minuscule from ANY THAI you are in SERIOUS WITH A CAPITAL S TROUBLE, no matter how the injury occurred.
So no matter how satisfying it would be to pop some of these assholes in the chops DO NOT DRAW BLOOD. Kick them in the shins, knees, balls, but whatever do not bloody them. That is why I now always carry pepper spray. I had a long discussion with my Thai cop buddies to determine what was the best weapon to carry to defend myself and they recommended pepper spray as it is NOT CONSIDERED A WEAPON at this time. Now this is Thailand and things can change depending on who you are talking to but knives, batons, stun guns are all weapons by Thai law and you are asking for trouble if you carry them for defence. NO MATTER THAT THEY ARE SOLD ON THE STREET if some cop gets a hair across his ass or heaven forbid you use one, you are in deep trouble. So that leaves pepper spray which is NOT a weapon, is very effective, comes in very small packages, and can be deployed from 10 feet away keeping you away from the person intent on harming you. So get some of the good "Police strength" 10% capsicum pepper brands and be careful out there. And when they go down from the spray in their eyes it gives you more time to aim to give them a
good kick in the balls.
Wow! I guess in many ways you were lucky to get away with using the spray like you did. I imagine that in most countries you'd get your ass fried for that. But then again, it sounds like he deserved it all right! Still, I have to admit surprise that you used it. Thais tend to up the ante and if you use pepper spray, what is the nest step? A gun?! Then things could get totally out of hand…