Paraplegic Saigonese provides delivery with a smile

By Diep Phan   October 3, 2020 | 09:00 pm GMT+7

With both his legs paralyzed since childhood, Nguyen Duy Long, 65, has survived working as a delivery man for the past six years.

I used to be a mechanic and a carpenter when I was young. About a decade ago, my health got worse and I decided to become a lottery seller, but I did not earn well. So I became a delivery man, using my own tricycle, said Nguyen Duy Long, 65, residing on Hiep Binh Chanh Commune, Saigons Thu Duc District. He has been living with his paralyzed legs since he was one year old.

"I used to be a mechanic and carpenter. About a decade ago, my health worsened and I decided to become a lottery vendor, but earned little. So I became a delivery man instead, using my own tricycle," said Nguyen Duy Long, 65, residing in Saigon's Thu Duc District.

When Long started the job, he delivered clothes and cosmetic products for local shops, but only 60 percent of these were shipped successfully since many people rejected to receive their orders.  Long, having his paralyzed legs, cannot stand. So he moves by sitting and taking small steps.

Previously, Long usually delivered clothes and cosmetics, and nearly 60 percent of shipments were refused. Long, paralyzed since age one, cannot stand and moves about by sitting or taking small steps.

In the last three years, he has only worked for loyal customers in HCMCs Mien Dong (Eastern Region)Bus Station. With goods from other provinces, usually packed in big sizes, Long must resort to help from other people.

His tricycle is designed with all mechanics within easy reach. In the last three years, he has mainly served loyal customers at HCMC's Mien Dong (Eastern Region) Bus Station. Long usually had to ask other delivery persons for help when hauling large cargo.

After stacking packages of goods onto his bicycle, the man carefully tight them with ropes. Last month, he had to spend VND300,000 to make up for a client whose goods were dropped during transportation. The client told him not to pay, but Long insisted. Even I am disabled, I must try my best at work to receive my salary. I lost their goods, so I have to make it up for them, I cannot use my disability as an excuse for their sympathy, they also have to work hard, Long said, adding he is afraid of bags containing durians and jackfruit since they can be drop easily.

Last month, Long insisted on paying a client VND300,000 ($12.91) after dropping his load.
"Even though I’m disabled, I must try my best to earn a living. I must make up for any mistakes, instead of using my disability as an excuse," he said, adding he often struggles with bags containing durian and jackfruit since they can easily drop.

Lam Ngoc (orange shirt), a delivery man from Binh Thanh District, usually helps Long. When he sees the man have no client, he talks with other colleagues to share their orders with Long so he can earn more money.  We are not disabled but this job is still hard for us, so Long must feel the same. We all love him, Ngoc maintained.

Lam Ngoc (orange shirt), a delivery man from Binh Thanh District, usually helps Long find work during quiet stints. "This job is still hard on us. Imagine how Long must feel, we love him," Ngoc maintained.

Long knows that he is lucky since during the last six years of doing the job, he has received a lot of help from the community and tips from his patrons.

In the past six years, Long has received tons of help from the local community, habitually tipped by satisfied patrons.

When his customers do not pick up the phone, Long rings the bell or asks help from passers.   He was fooled a couple of times. Once, he paid VND600,000 in advance before the delivery, but the buyers, giving him a fake address, did not appear. Long brought the package home and open it, inside there was a pair of honeycomb sandals.

Once, he paid VND600,000 ($25.82) in advance before a delivery, only to arrive at a fake address. Inside the package lay a pair of honeycomb sandals.

On September 26, 2020, he delivers some rice papers from Mien Dong Bus Station to District 11s Lu Gia Street. The 13-km trip gives him VND150,000. Thanks to the lightweight rice paper, he can pack up and deliver them with one trip. Normally, when goods are too heavy, he has to travel twice, without charging his customers for more money. I usually travel during lunchtime because streets are quieter during these hours. I deliver big packages of goods, taking too much space, so if I travel in the afternoon with traffic jams, other people will be affected, Long said.

On September 26, 2020, Long delivers some rice paper from Mien Dong Bus Station to District 11's Lu Gia Street. The 13-km trip earns him VND150,000 ($6.46). He seldom charges customers more for heavier loads.
"I usually travel during lunchtime when streets are quieter. I deliver big packages of goods, taking too much space, so if I travel in the afternoon amid traffic jams, other commuters would be affected," Long explained.

I am old and do not have a lot of money to do any business, so this job fits me the best at the moment, Long said while waiting for more orders to come.

"I am old and do not have a lot of money, so this job fits me best," Long said while waiting for more orders.

It has been two days the man has no patrons, he often sits at a cafe near the bus station, using social networks to see whether there are any people who need delivery service, but he is always slower than others.The disabled man enjoys doing charity works. More than ten years ago, when his arm was almost paralyzed, a friend showed him how to make medicinal liquor for treatment. Since then, he usually makes it to give and sell to those in need.  Long has also stopped receiving gifts from donators, saying he can still earn money.  But in the Covid-19 pandemic, people still remember me and were afraid that I was in difficulties, so they sent me rive and instant noodles, Long said.

On days he has no patrons, Long waits at a cafe near the bus station, checking social networks to see whether anyone needs a delivery made.
In his spare time, he enjoys doing charity work. Long has stopped receiving gifts from donors, proud that he can still earn his own income. "But during the Covid-19 pandemic, some people were afraid I was facing difficulties, so they sent me rice and instant noodles," he said.

Long is currently living with his family. He got married to a cook at a local kindergarten at the age of 55, so his child is in grade 7.   Long cannot be at ease when thinking about his offsprings future with his unstable income. We are in difficulties so if he has a job to earn, I fully support. When he told me he would be a delivery man, I did not think he could do the job that long, said Do Thi Tuat, 53, Longs wife.

Long is currently living with his family. He got married to a cook at a local kindergarten at the age of 55. His child is currently in grade seven. "Times are hard so any work is welcome. When he told me he would become a delivery man, I didn’t think he could do the job for long," said Do Thi Tuat, 53, Long's partner.

 
 
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