A spontaneous and heartfelt ‘thank you’

Fellow unionist Thongchai Saibuddhabun

His nametag says: “Tom;” his full name is Thongchai Saibuddhabun. As one of the Hilton staff providing exemplary service at the opening lunch for NYSUT’s Local Presidents’ Conference, Tom is a proud member of Local 6 of the New York Hotel & Motel Trades Council, AFL-CIO.

Before lunch started, Tom hesitantly inquired if he might express his appreciation for the teachers present – and because I was fortunate to be the person he spoke to, I can share Tom’s words widely here.

First he asked: Did I know the musical, The King and I? Set in the country formerly called Siam, it may be the most recognizable Western cultural reference for Tom’s native country, Thailand – which, he said, respects and reveres teachers above all.

“I want to say to the teachers, thank you for all you do,” Tom said with a slight bow. “In my country, teacher is the most important person. No one does a thing without teachers. There is no teacher layoff in my country, ever.

“At plays,” he continued, “before they perform, they must all say a prayer of thanks to their teachers. Without teachers, no one advances.”

So as you endure the slings and arrows of outrageous critics, know this: there are working folks out there who not only appreciate what you and our members do – they revere it.

Remember this, and if you see him … thank Tom.

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  1. Carl April 6, 2011 at 5:51 pm #

    Is there any way Tom can get a leave of absence and tour the state with us? Great post!

  2. Kathy Welch April 7, 2011 at 10:50 am #

    Great post. Thanks for sharing. Hope all is going well at the RA.

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