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Sunday, 09 August 2015 00:00

Dr. Thuy and Jesse Journal: 'Tis the Season (Part 2): UW Foster MBA Alums Offer to Pay for Christmas Gift for OBV Girls


Part two in a series of short stories of friends and family back home who have gone out of their way to extend their own generosity to those in need here in Vietnam.

This is a story about a small group of classmates turned friends who overhear a conversation and take it upon themselves to be awesome.

Three UW Foster MBA classmates and friends want to ensure that the OBV girls have one of the most entertaining and memorable Christmas gifts ever.

As mentioned in the first story, Rick Gupta, Mike Ru, and Andy Eisenhower, three UW Foster MBA alumni and personal friends, came to Vietnam and Thailand for the holidays. Their first full day in Vietnam entailed a day tour of the Cu Chi tunnels. Thuy and I joined them for this private tour. We're glad we did, as it was indeed a very interesting tour. As we all made our way down from our apartment to the parked tour van below, Thuy and I had a quiet and brief discussion in the elevator about what we wanted to give to the OBV girls for Christmas.

Thuy had the brilliant idea--as she always does--to give the girls the gift of a day of fun. We would rent a bus and take the girls to the zoo, a movie, a nice restaurant...we would go to anywhere they deemed fun. It would be an all-day event, one that we hope they would remember for a long while. We were excited to tell Sister Ngoc.

The next day after the Cu Chi tour, which happened to also be Christmas Eve in Vietnam, my friends and I spent the first half of the day together visiting a couple of sights around Ho Chi Minh City. I would join them for lunch before returning home to pack and head to the OBV girls house with Thuy for an overnight stay.

As lunch ended and our leftovers were being packed, Andy, speaking for the group, expressed his admiration for OBV, and he informed me that they decided together that they wanted to pay for the girls' Christmas gift, the day of fun that Thuy and I had agreed upon the day before. They insisted that no expense be spared; we are to make sure that the girls have the time of their lives, and it would be all on these guys' dime.

I was awestruck by their generosity. They only just learned about OBV when they got to Vietnam, and they haven't even met the girls. I met Thuy at home and told her the news that my friends wanted to pay for the girls' gift. She was moved to tears. I had to swallow some emotion myself when I told her.

Now we really couldn't wait to tell Sister Ngoc and the girls.

We arrived at the OBV house for Christmas Eve dinner and evening mass. Over dinner, I explained to Sister Ngoc our intention so as to get her final approval before announcing it to the girls. She, too, was surprised and deeply appreciative of the generous offer Rick, Mike, and Andy made. We agreed that we would pick a day shortly after Tet, the Lunar New Year; the girls would be more available after Tet.

Sister Ngoc rapped on the aluminum dining table to get everyone's attention, and Thuy told the girls what we wanted to do and who would be financing it.

The girls' faces lit up and their smiles grew. Thuy asked for ideas, and within minutes we had basic itinerary for the day. Our current plan is to take them to an outdoor amusement and water park, a nice restaurant for lunch, a movie theater to catch a new release, an indoor game center for bowling and video games (<-- my idea, 'natch), and then another restaurant for dinner. We have a couple of months to refine the plan, but all in all it sounds like a full day of fun.

Rick, Mike, and Andy, on behalf of OBV and especially the girls, thank you so much for this gift. I look forward to sharing with you stories and pictures of how the day went.

PS: Andy, thanks again for the Ho Hos :)

Jesse Robbins

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