Having already protected the staff of his hotel from economic disaster during the hotel’s coronavirus closure, Thai Garden Resort owner Gerrit Niehaus now has come to the rescue of Koh Larn residents.
Before closing the Thai Garden Resort during the crisis, Gerrit and his wife Anselma met with their employees and pledged to support them, not only with a final paycheck or a one-time handout, but monthly.
During the closure, however, two of their employees who live on Koh Larn relayed the story of how tough island residents made it on themselves after closing the island off to outsiders. Koh Larn cut off its main source of income – tourists and mainland visitors – and soon ran into financial hardship.
Worse, with no regular boat traffic, food on the island became scarce as deliveries fell off.
After hearing this, the Niehauses contacted Deputy Mayor Ronakit Ekasingh to help him with logistics and the three bought rice, dried food, oil, milk and other necessities.
The 150,000-baht in food was packed into waterproof bags and loaded on a police barge at Bali Hai Pier with the help of Koh Larn Community President Boonlerd Boonying, police officers and volunteers.
Boonlerd, a quiet man, was obviously moved and wholeheartedly thanked Gerrit. He said in a short speech that he almost saw no way out of this problem; that he had pleaded with the city hall already and now the Niehaus family showed up at the right moment.
Gerrit said Boonlerd and Ronakit should come to him again if they need more help. He also announced that the two employees on the island – both of them are chefs – would prepare a meal for 200 needy people once or twice a week.