The Initiative of ‘One’

It’s very easy to sit back and complain about how we were negatively impacted by the actions of those around us. This is a story about a regular business person who actually stood up and did something. This positively impacted thousands of commuters on a daily basis…the initiative of “ONE”. Businessman Chetsada Wiangket doesn’t sit in Bangkok’s notorious traffic snarls wishing for a subway of skytrain to be built. He’s too busy thinking up ways he can help ease the problems of driving in the city. Since February 1994, for example, Chetsada has installed nearly 100 emergency two-line stations beside busy highways and at traffic-police kiosks.

He thought of the tow line when his old car overheated, blocking an entire lane until a tow truck could get there. “A broken-down car can worsen traffic considerably, “says the 38-year-old ice-cream distributor and manager of his family’s medicine company. His idea was that, if a driver had a tow line, he could ask a passing taxi to pull his car to a petrol pump.

Chetsada started placing small signs announcing the emergency service near busy highways. A tow line was attached to the sign by a hook. Drivers used the lines, but failed to return them. Delighted nonetheless, and encouraged by traffic police, Chetsada embarked on his campaign in earnest.

He built larger steel signs, on each of which he included a diagram illustrating how to use the lines and a request to return them. The line is chained to the stand, and users must ask traffic police in the area for the key.

Then, fearing that his service might put an extra burden on the police officers, Chetsada decided to cool them off, literally, with ice-cold towelettes in their tricycles’ refrigerator compartments and give one to any policeman they see. “Sometimes officers put them under their caps to make the heat more bearable,” says Chetsada.

The father of three says his wife, Nithiorn, is a motivating force behind his Samaritan projects. “At first she called me crazy. But I’m the type who is fuelled by insults,” he adds.

While receiving no monetary rewards, Chetsada said the compliments he receives from all sides are reward enough. “These days everyone is out for himself. But if we all do nothing – just wait for that skytrain or subway to materialize – we could be waiting forever.”

Source: Reader’s digest, 1997