One-legged Cinderella in Vietnam finds her prince

By Thuy Quynh   March 2, 2020 | 11:30 pm PT
One-legged Cinderella in Vietnam finds her prince
Be Thi Bang. Photo courtesy of Bang.
Be Thi Bang had given up all notions of romance after losing a leg in an accident, but fate had different plans for her.

The 33-year-old, an ethnic Tay, was born in northern Cao Bang Province, graduated from the Thai Nguyen University of Medicine and Pharmacy, and was working for a dental clinic in Hanoi.

In 2012 a truck ran over her as she was walking on the street. When she recovered consciousness after four days, she found her right leg had been amputated at the hip.

She tried to adjust to her new life, learning to walk with a prosthetic leg and a crutch. She says: "I thought I was lucky to be alive. I did not dare dream of love."

But she started to get her life back on track. She returned to work, practiced dancing on one leg and threw herself into voluntary activities. Life went on until one day in mid-2016 everything changed.

She was seeing her friend off at the airport when she came across a German tourist, Oturak Be. Seeing him struggle with a map, she offered to give him a hand. "Perhaps that was destiny," she says with a smile.

After a few days she accidentally met him again in the West Lake area. They became friends and spent a lot of time exploring Vietnam together. They also visited Cao Bang, her hometown.

At first he had no idea about her disability since she used an artificial limb, and only knew the truth when she showed him a video recording of her dancing on only one leg.

Surprised he praised her: "How can you dance so beautifully? Do you know how much I love Arabian and Persian dances?"

One day he confessed to being in love with her, but she said, "Give me more time."

When he was about to return home, he surprisingly proposed to her. But, thinking she did not deserve him, she rejected it. Her heart was shouting "I accept," but her mind stopped her from doing so. She was afraid she would be a burden.

Oturak then wrote her a long letter saying: "Please do not say that. In German, ‘do not deserve’ is not a nice term. You are beautiful and confident, you deserve better."

Be Thi Bang and her husband, Oturak Be. Photo courtesy of Bang.

Be Thi Bang and her husband, Oturak Be. Photo courtesy of Bang.

Despite being touched by this, she still said no. But the two continued to keep in touch. She took him to her hometown to visit her parents once. 

Her parents’ strong support and Oturak’s determination finally convinced Bang. His unconditional love helped her understand that beauty is not in perfection or physical appearance, and what really matters is the dignity of the soul.

He began to visit Vietnam every three months. The two tied the knot in late 2017.

Bang says: "Only when we got married did I find out that he was a mathematics professor."

He lives in Germany while she is still in Vietnam, managing a dental clinic and running a business. He visits four times a year and during other holidays.

She says: "As soon as I complete my other plans I will leave for Germany. We will soon reunite."

Despite living on two different continents, they always keep each other up to date on all daily details. Both of them have three mobile phones so that they can keep in touch at any time. "We set our marriage rules. Responsibility, understanding and trust are the keys."

High heels are still favorite 

In May 2019 she became instantly famous for her smooth dance moves at the Beauty of Half-Moon" pageant.

She took people by surprise by walking confidently in a pair of shoes with 14-centimeter heels. "I am myself when I wear high heels, and there is a long back story."

When she was young she fell in love with the high-heeled shoes she saw on TV fashion shows and admired those elegant models, and since then always dreamed about wearing those shoes.

Unable to afford a pair, she made one at home with bamboo, wood and banana leaves. The heels did not fit her but she insisted on wearing them anyway.

Just before the car accident she had bought a lovely pair of high heels. "They were brand new, but I hid them away since I would not need them anymore."

At the age of 27 Bang began to practice dancing on one leg and was determined to learn to walk on high heels.

One-legged, she tries to get used with using only one piece of shoe. Instead of throwing the other piece away, she gives sneakers to those in need and keeps high-heels as souvenirs.

Bang has no specific plans for the future. All she wants is to spread positive vibes to as many people as possible because "to love is to give."

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