I believe the media and the American public have obtained an erroneous impression of South Korea, the South Korean people and the tremendous country which they have developed, built, and nurtured over the past 20-odd years. People were courteous, friendly, and did everything they could to help Olympic visitors, especially in the areas of locating a hotel, restaurant, or venue. Here are three examples that tell you a great deal about the South Korean community, which I was fortunate enough to witness firsthand:
- I was out in the pouring rain one afternoon without a jacket or umbrella trying to hail a taxi. A young Korean gentleman put an umbrella over my head, waited with me for 15 minutes, and helped me translate for the taxi driver where I wanted to go.
- Another day I was attempting to move as rapidly as possible from one event to another and a senior citizen walked me a few blocks to a particular bus stop, handed me a token, refused to accept any money, and made sure that I was aware of where to exit the bus.
- A third example of the kindness and humanity of the South Koreans stemmed from what would appear to have been a very long walk (approximately three miles). A couple of Korean gentlemen stopped in a van, picked me up, and took me to the nearest hotel, just because they were nice people trying to help a visitor.