A motorbike courier turned heads when speaking to novelist Marc Levy in fluent French without the help of a translator at a readers’ meeting in HCMC with the author on Nov. 9.
The video of Huynh Huu Phuoc, 25, a student at the HCMC University of Education, speaking to Levy quickly attracted hundreds of thousands of likes and comments.
“You created many interesting details in your novels ‘The First Day’ and ‘The First Night’, including the questions of the origin of the universe and human beliefs. May I ask, what inspired you to write such subtle words?”
His confidence and ability to speak French fluently surprised many viewers, including writer Levy.
“Perhaps, the reason why the video footage caught people’s attention is because of my uniform. People might have a prejudice that delivery drivers are freelancers and our work is based on manual rather than intellectual labor. It might not have caused a stir online if I had spoken French when wearing a regular outfit.”
Huynh Huu Phuoc in his uniform asks novelist Marc Levy a question in French during a fan meeting event in HCMC’s District 1 on November 9, 2022. Photo acquired by VnExpress
Phuoc said that he studied French from grades 1-9 before attending the HCMC University of Education in 2015.
He picked up multiple part-time jobs outside of class, from being a restaurant helper and waiter at a coffee shop to being a security guard and delivery driver, to pay tuition and help his mother cover living expenses.
Despite that, he still achieved good academic scores and was able to participate in scientific research with faculty members.
Delivery is busy from morning to night, but Phuoc always takes advantage of his lunch break to drive to Tran Nhan Ton Street to buy used books and satisfy his passion for French, English, Japanese and Chinese literature.
Phuoc has finished translating a book from French that has not yet been published.
Tran Le Bao Chan, deputy head of the French Department under the HCMC University of Education, told VnExpress that Phuoc is a student of the department but is reserving his studies due to difficult family circumstances.
“Huu Phuoc always aspires to go to school and strives for personal development. But due to family circumstances, he had to suspend his university dream. I hope he can return to school soon to continue his studies, graduate and achieve his goals,” she said.
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