When the two British divers finally found the trapped boys and their coach in the flooded cave in Thailand, 14-year-old Adul Sam-On took on a great responsibility.
The boy, a stateless refugee since the age of 6, was the only boy who could speak English, and acted as interpreter between his team and the rescuers. His first priority was making sure he and his friends got the help they needed.
Now, he’s being celebrated as a hero.
On June 23, 12 boys aged 11 to 16 and their 25-year-old coach disappeared into Tham Luang Nan Non cave in northern Thailand. The extensive cave system was quickly flooded by monsoon rains, blocking the exit and making the boys’ rescue extremely difficult.
After an incredible international effort, the world breathed a sigh of relief and cheered on day 16 of the ordeal. All the boys and their coach were rescued from the cave and rushed to the hospital. And amazingly, none of them have serious injuries, according to news reports.
The 14-year-old boy became a hero
When the first divers reached the boys and their coach in the flooded cave, it was a 14-year-old boy named Adul Sam-On who came forward on his friends’ behalf.
The boy, who belongs to the minority Wa ethnic group, speaks several languages, including English. He was the only one who could speak to the British divers who found them and acted as an interpreter between the divers and his team.
As reported in the New York Times, Adul politely relayed the team’s primary concern: food. And he also asked how long he and his friends had been in the cave.
“They have a fighting spirit”
As a 6-year-old, Adul’s parents brought him across the border from Myanmar and left him at a church hoping he’d have a better life, writes the BBC.
Now, eight years later, Adul became a hero by playing an important part the rescue of his team from the cave.
“Stateless children have a fighting spirit that makes them want to excel. Adul is the best of the best,” Punnawit Thepsurin, principal of the boys’ school, told the New York Times.
The coach is also celebrated
In addition to Adul, coach Ekapol Chantawong, 25, is also being celebrated for his efforts in the cave. Coach Ek lived for years as a Buddhist monk, which is where he learned to calm his mind and conserve the body’s energy resources through meditation.
He also taught the boys to meditate, according to news reports, which many people say is the reason that the boys were able to survive for nine days until help came.
The whole world is overjoyed that the boys and their coach are free, safe and in good health.
Although he’s only 14 years old, Adul realized the seriousness of the situation and made sure his friends and coach got the help they needed. He’s a real hero who deserves all the praise we can give him.
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