PacifyAt 9:30 p.m., the phone vibrated, jumped to announce “there is an order”, Ton Tan Quoc counted the number of orders for the day, then pressed the receive button and took the car out.
At the store, the shipper hopped in, received two bags of food and delivered it. The order was completed at 10pm, Quoc ended his working day. For the past three years, this 21-year-old boy with only one leg has been working hard to deliver goods throughout Quy Nhon City.
Quoc’s right leg was lost in 2017, when he was 16 years old. That year, suddenly one day his leg was in severe pain. The family took them to all places for treatment, but the condition still did not improve. Upon arrival in Ho Chi Minh City, the doctors concluded: bone cancer. The hospital suggested radiation therapy and amputation of a leg to stop the spread of cancer cells. When he heard the news, Quoc was completely depressed and his mother, Vo Thi Ut, cried all her tears, sat next to her, squeezed her child’s feet and whispered: “It’s okay, I have a disease, I can cure it”.
The night before going to the operating table, Quoc stayed up all night. Opening his eyes, waking up after the surgery, he felt the pain that pierced the bones, underneath was an amputated leg, and Quoc’s tears flowed non-stop. Two years of treatment, 6 times of radiation therapy made Quoc’s hair bald and his body thin. The university doors are closed.
Seeing his son drowsy by the hospital bed, his parents were always nearby to encourage him. When learning to walk on crutches, Quoc was not used to it, so he took a few steps and fell again, making the whole family afraid to turn pale. He recalls, the transition from three-wheelers to two-wheelers was really arduous. “I admire my father’s patience. My father sat in the back, using his legs to prop me up little by little,” Quoc said.
At first, the guy only dared to run at a speed of 20 km/h. Every time he stopped the car, he had to sit firmly on the saddle and then push the brakes as quickly as possible to avoid wobbling.
Once he was able to ride a motorbike, Quoc started thinking about finding a job to control his life because he “couldn’t depend on his parents for the rest of his life”. One afternoon in 2019, Quoc was introduced to a delivery company by a friend. When the one-legged boy asked for a job, the owner was surprised but still gave Quoc a three-day trial.
Quoc still remembers his first order was at a tea shop in Tuy Hoa city (Phu Yen province). As soon as he entered the restaurant, all eyes were on him. Although he was mentally prepared in advance, the shipper was still very confused, his face red. The owner of the tea shop saw Quoc and immediately pulled up a chair to ask about it. That night, he discovered that she had quietly taken a photo and wrote a post on social media: “This little brother lost a leg but still delivers. If anyone is in need, please call him.”
The young man from Phu Yen said to himself, if he is not healthy, he must try twice and triple. Quoc set a target for himself to deliver 50 applications, the amount of money he earns ranges from 500,000 VND/day. From early in the morning, Quoc pushed his motorbike out of the house. When the sun reached the top of his head, he took a break and hurriedly ate a lunch box and a loaf of bread. At times, when he was too tired, Quoc would rest on a park bench for 10-15 minutes and then rush back to work.
Once it rained heavily, Quoc still received the last order at 20 pm. The raincoat he wore on his body seemed to have no effect, the water splashed on his face. Quoc said to customers over the phone, “I understand, wait a moment” and then used his unique leg to cross the flooded sections. When he got there, the customer felt so sorry and gave him 50,000 VND, instead of 35,000 VND as the order value. National fever a few days later.
The weather did not make it difficult for the 21-year-old boy, but orders weighing tens of kilograms forced Quoc to ask for help from colleagues. “I am fortunate to have kind colleagues who have never once complained or refused my offer,” he said.
Some customers feel sorry for the guy who hops on the hopscotch to get the goods, and also pats his shoulder to encourage: “Do your best”. At times like these, Quoc feels warm again. He has never refused to receive an application when there is enough time, even, there is an order 90 km from home. Perhaps also thanks to this fearlessness, Quoc has many acquaintances, calling him again when needed.
A year ago, the company opened more branches, Quoc had to leave his hometown Phu Yen to Quy Nhon to work. Every month, minus the company discount, motorbike installment, and living expenses, he saves about two to three million and sends it back to his mother. The first time she received her child’s salary, Mrs. Ut was touched, tears rolling down her cheeks. She confided, Quoc is a child who has suffered many disadvantages and it is very difficult for him to accept the fact that he will forever lose one of his legs. “I’m very happy to have a place to take him, give him a decent job to earn a living, to support the family,” the mother said.
Chau Thi Kim Hue, Quoc’s manager, said that when she first saw a one-legged shipper asking for a job, she was surprised and worried. “Quoc was thin and sick at that time. I wondered if customers would be shy, but in the end, I still created conditions for you to try the job,” she said. Not ignoring Ms. Hue, Quoc worked very hard and was responsible. When the unit is short of people, Quoc is always ready to receive applications, or help people.
Last weekend, a resident returned to the moment of Quoc’s delivery. The 20-second video recording the scene where the stork man pushed the door open, stepped out of the convenience store and jumped down the steps, moved many people and shared on many social networking sites. Quoc said that he has silently read all the encouraging comments and considers this a motivation for him to try harder.