Motorbike rescuers hit Hanoi streets at all odd hours

By Vu Van   August 19, 2018 | 11:41 pm PT
Kindhearted volunteers form a rapid response team to help stranded motorcyclists in the capital city late into the night.

It was around midnight that the tire of her motorbike burst on a street in central Hanoi.

Dang Tu Le was on the verge of panicking when a young man saw her and made a call.

“Just 10 minutes later, a young man showed up and helped me.”

Surprised and happy that she was helped at this time of the night, Le was astonished when the man did not ask for money. Service at midnight typically cost a lot.

“I insisted on paying, so he took VND10,000 ($0.42),” said Le.

Such stories are legion for the Hanoi Motorcycle Rescue Team.

Every night, the team gathers at the Khuat Duy Tien-Pham Hung intersection to the west of downtown Hanoi, usually at a stall selling iced tea. As soon as they receive information about an emergency, vehicle type, location and other details, the members would head out.

Team members say that their own experiences of needing help in the night as also the sight of helpless citizens pushing their motorbikes or scooters, looking for a mechanic, motivated them to take action.

The rescue team was established in 2016 with 20 people, and currently has over 50 members. “I, like everyone else in the team, have also experienced problems with my motorbike earlier. I felt sad seeing people push their bikes late at night. So people sharing the same thoughts got together and formed a team,” said Vu Van Tuan, member of the team’s managing board.

Tuan Anh, a member of the rescue team repairs a motorbike on Beltway 3 of Hanoi.

Tuan Anh, a member of the rescue team, repairs a motorbike on Hanoi’s Beltway 3. Photos by Vu Van

The team’s evening shift lasts from 9 p.m. to 3 a.m. the next morning. The general price for tire patch is VND10,000 ($0.42), for changing tires is VND30,000-50,000 ($1.28-2.14) and in special cases, the service is free. The fees collected only cover the material price.

On the team’s social media page, many people have expressed their appreciation for their benefactors.

Nguyen Hong Lien received help from the team last month.

“I was very touched. When they finished fixing my motorbike, it was already 1 a.m. in the morning. I invited them for some iced tea, but they declined and left to repair another person’s motorbike,” she wrote on Facebook.

“I have started thinking that life is meaningful, after seeing your beautiful actions. I wish you health, peace and good luck,” she wrote.

At 15 minutes to midnight, Hang, 26, a Hanoi resident and a female member of the rescue team, received a call for help five kilometers away. With good direction and driving skills, it only took her 10 minutes to reach the place.

This time, the condition was not too bad, just a pin in the back wheel. With her experience of dealing with nearly ten similar cases a month, Hang took out her tools and got the job done in exactly eight minutes.

“Every girl longs for a stable job. When I chose to be a motorbike-taxi driver, many said I was crazy. But I don’t care. This is the life I want. With the team, I do not care about the money, absolutely. Helping people makes me happy," said Hang, who left a sales staff position to become a motorbike taxi driver.

Hangs hands, dirty after repairing the motorbikes.

Hang, an enthusiatic member of the team, fixes a motorbike on Cau Giay Street, Hanoi, on August 8.

The rescue team is not made up of professional mechanics. They still have their regular work during the day; some go to work, others go to school. Every month, the team organizes training sessions for new members. The lessons include motorbike repairs, self-defense and first-aid in emergency situations.

Tho, 24, joined the team two years ago. His parents were unhappy about him coming home late, but he has no intention of leaving. "Later when I get married, if I have time, I will still work with the team," he said.

Amidst his happiness, there are somewhat sad moments, he said.

"A few times on the road, I met people with their bikes broken down, but they refused my offer to help, afraid that they might be cheated, that I might ask for too much money.”

go to top