Every boxing day I remember how close I came to die…that’s because I planned to be on the beach in Phuket on Boxing Day 2004 when the Tsunami hit at 10.58am (3.58am GMT). And I still struggle to this day with the ‘random’ events that lead me away from the Tsunami to a place of safety.
Rewind to November 2004 and I’d just resigned from the corporate sector with a vision to tackle systemic unemployment and poverty. I’d also decided I was going to ask my girlfriend at the time to marry me and I’d ask her somewhere abroad – and Thailand was the chosen destination. An itinerary was created that would have taken us to Phuket on Boxing Day.
Before leaving for Thailand I visited a chiropractor for pains in my neck. He asked me what I was doing for Christmas and I excitedly shared my itinerary – and as soon as I said Boxing Day Phuket he stopped and said I shouldn’t go there. Head East instead. He couldn’t explain why – just a feeling.
Being a logical person a feeling wouldn’t change the plan so off to Thailand we went with everything still in place. The night before we were due to travel on to Phuket I thought about what the chiropractor had said – but then decided we’d still head to Phuket the next day. However, as we headed off to Phuket I had an overwhelming sense not to continue our journey – and as suggested we headed East instead onto an island called Kao Tao.
We never knew the tsunami hit until 7 hours afterwards. We both called our parents who of course thought we had died as they knew we planned to be in Phuket on Boxing Day – only we knew our last minute change of plans. I was numb knowing how close we came to being there – and also because of the ‘random’ events that helped us to survive.
Was it divine intervention? God working through the chiropractor to influence our direction away from the Tsunami? How could it – I was an atheist, had been since I was 16 after by brother died. God doesn’t save atheists…does he? And of course there is no way I’m more important than any of the 300,000 people who died that day.
Or was it lady luck? But how did the chiropractor know to suggest we go East as the Tsunami only devastated the West coast of Thailand? And also my own overwhelming sense of not going to Phuket?
It’s hard to believe 300,000 people died that day. So many people and we would have been there also. I resolved to go back home and never give up on the mission to tackle systemic unemployment and poverty no matter how hard it would get.
Since 2004 I’ve focussed on ensuring this second chance to live on would be meaningful – especially as I believe if God saves us it’s for His greater good and plan and not just for ourselves.
That’s why today I’m a social entrepreneur helping charities and social enterprises use technology for social good and next April 2017 I will be standing for election as a politician in the Portsoken Ward in the City of London where I hope to work within government to help others.
David – United Kingdom