I Got to Meet a Great Guy Today!
Jordan is from America and is studying in Bangkok, she kindly agreed to share the following note which she sent to her family and friends after visiting Scott on Thursday 2oth November 2008:
All morning I had intense butterflies. The prison is closer to my school and so it was no trouble getting there. I left around 7.45am, traffic was pretty crazy getting there so be weary, and got there around 8.30am.
Seana gave me great advice to have the address written in Thai which was crucial to me getting there - just a friendly tip for anyone going to the prison. It was about 200 bhat to drive there which was a pleasant surprise because I thought it would be more.
The area around the prison is actually really nice and normal - lots of people doing business, homes, buses - I was picturing an eerie side of town and the jail was going to be all deserted. I was very wrong - the part of town was very nice!
I was a little confused at first but found my way around to the registration area exactly as described by Seana and Scott's Aunt - so if you want excellent directions talk to them. I signed my application then handed it in. The guards and people where very friendly and were more than willing to help me when I was confused. I bought two copies of my passport just in case. I waited with my large bag of goodies for Scott - bread from 7-Eleven, ham, pastries etc. There was a prison store and I was actually very impressed with it - so many things! I bought Scott some upset stomach medication, toothpaste and shampoo. Things that aren't food you have to buy at the store. I had originally bought the toothpaste and meds from the 7-Eleven but they wouldn't take it at the prison.
I didn't have to wait long to go in, maybe ten minutes. They took my bag, I went through the surveillance, walked around the corner with my goodies, turned in my stamped application and waited at the phones.
I was a little worried because I knew that Scott wouldn't know who he was looking for - and to me he looks different in every picture! :) I found an area where not many people were sitting. I waited for about fifteen minutes and noticed that people were starting to come in. I saw Scott!! I waved to him and he asked if my name was Jordan - then we started talking.
Scott is such a genuine, personable man. I'll admit .... the night before I was going to go visit, I'd be lying if I didn't have one or two thoughts of backing out. People were freaking me out with the things they would say, how scary it would be etc. But then I thought about Seana and his family and how it would give them such great piece of mind knowing that someone had seen Scott recently and he was okay - plus I really did want to see the prison I had been reading about for months!
When he sat down and started talking he had this smile that was just unreal and friendly eyes. My nerves were instanly calmed. We talked about all sorts of things - he obviously understands that usually when people come to visit they have read books such as "Damage Done" about the prison and written in the 70's - 80's - a period when the prison was much more dangerous and awful than it is now. So he's very polite and understanding that even if you aren't asking your mind is racing with questions. He's also very animate in the fact that although the prison isn't glorious by any means it is definately much, much better than it used to be. He said when people come to see him they're surprised when he's smiling and actually healthy ... they expect to see him dying or something. He broke the ice and just started talking about the day of his arrest, the people, how the prison works, the guards etc. I only had to ask a few things. Scott was so friendly and asked me many questions about myself - he was so openly appreciative of me coming to see him. We talked about Seana - a lot - and how she had been a life saver for the both of us :) He was very surprised at how much I knew about him. From reading his web site, talking to his Aunt and Seana ... I felt like I knew everything about him. It was nice getting to know him. We talked for about an hour and a half and it was great. Another thing that impressed me about Scott was how well he's doing. He looked tanned and happy - well as happy as he could be. He's doing so well under the circumstances and just gushed about how lucky he is to have the family and friends that he does. He really appreciates everything everyone does for him.
I can't imagine being in his position ... but you can tell he's very, very hopeful and just takes everyday in his stride. That's all he can do really. I was impressed with his openness, friendliness and his positive attitude. I really admire him. People really don't appreciate life for what it is. After we had finished I bought him a few more things at the prison shop and then deposited money into his prison account. He made me aware that the prison is like a little village - everyone needs to get by. By some prisoners having money they are able to pay other prisoners to cook for them, buy food for them etc ... it's really like a system. Some prisoners have little stands with food that they sell, they work for each other etc. It's nice to know that Scott uses what money he has to pay others so they are able to stand on their own two feet as well - really awesome:) I was so thankful to meet Scott and see the prison as well - the prison itself has so much history.
I'm so glad I went through with it - I thought maybe it would traumatize me or I wouldn't be able to handle it, but talking to Scott just made me want to visit again. I would suggest that anyone take the time to visit Scott or another inmate, it really is worthwhile I promise. Visiting the prison made me realise that these little things do make a difference. If ever you have a day to spare I would really recommend it. I would pay 200 bhat for a great conversation any day of the week!
I feel very optimistic about Scott's situation. I think that good karma will come back around ... good things happen to good people. He'll get out soon, I know he will! Just keep the online Petition circulating and we have every reason to hope.