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A veteran freely accommodates elderly lottery ticket vendors

Nguyen Len, a 60-something veteran, is preparing blankets and cleaning up beds for elderly lottery ticket vendors who stay at his house.

Nguyen Len (left) and Nguyen Bang at his house in Quang Ngai City’s Nguyen Cong Phuong Street.
Nguyen Len (left) and Nguyen Bang at his house in Quang Ngai City’s Nguyen Cong Phuong Street.

The house on Nguyen Cong Phuong Street, Quang Ngai City, the central coastal province of Quang Ngai is about 100sq.m with four rooms.

The lottery ticket agent has used two rooms of his one-floor house to put up old lottery ticket vendors for free for nearly a decade.

Those who stay at his house are mainly elderly, homeless or disabled.

Vo Van Bach, 88, of Hanh Thuan Commune, Nghia Hanh District said he still tried to earn a living by selling lottery ticket around streets in the city even though he was old.

“Whatever it’s rainy or sunny, I have to do my job,” he said.

Bach recalled once when he fell and his legs were bruised, Len bought medicine for Bach.

Nguyen Tuan, 86, of Nghia Hanh District’s Hanh Dung Commune, said he suffered a sever stomachache at midnight when he was staying at Len’s house.

Without any hesitation, Len drove Tuan to hospital for treatment.

“I’m always thankful for his kindness,” Tuan said.

Another person staying at Len’s house is Nguyen Bang, 86, of Tu Nghia District’s Nghia Thuong Commune. Bang is a disabled man with only one leg. He has spent his life in a wheelchair.

Bang said if Len did not let Bang stay at Len’s house for free, Bang would not know how to survive with the small money he earned from selling lottery tickets.

Bang earns about VND30,000–100,000 (US$1.3-4.3) a day from his job and less on rainy days.

A warm heart

When asked why he looks after the elderly lottery ticket vendors, Len said he had also experienced a hard life. He joined the army when he was young, and returned to his hometown aftter the country was unified in 1975.

He farmed, bred cattle and did other jobs to earn a living. Many years later, when he had saved enough money, he opened up as a lottery ticket agent.

“When I saw the elderly lottery ticket vendors, especially, disabled vendors, I just wanted to give them a hand,” Len said.

One reason was because they were old, another was because they were disabled, he said.

“I asked myself that if I did not help them, who would?” he added.

He started to accommodate elderly lottery ticket vendors about 10 years ago. Len’s house is normally opens until midnight when the last people returned and re-opened very early in the next morning.

“I will continue helping them as long as I can,” he said.