You’d Lose Your Head if it Wasn’t Screwed On

keysWe all met up at a small restaurant on Koh Samui, a palm-blanketed gemstone of an island in the Gulf of Thailand. I had only arrived a month prior and was still in the touristy stage of my travels, so travelers from all over the world sat at the table. Me. The American. An Irishman. A Swede. A young lady from Canada. An Aussie.

And one local Thai woman named Ann, who was decked out in a flowery dress and a big floppy summer hat, with some cool island colors going on.

Excited to share the culinary pleasures of her country with new foreign friends, Ann ordered everything she thought we could handle. Spicy, tangy papaya salad. Penang curry with pork. Pad thai with shrimp. Steamed fish in chili-lime sauce.

The food just kept coming, and if you know anything about Thai cuisine, you can imagine the bamboo hut heaven we were sitting in.

It was a fun dinner. Plenty of Beer Chang and Singha. Even more laughs. And then it was time for Ann and her Australian boyfriend to call it a night, so they said their farewells and headed out the door.

But they quickly came back to report that Ann couldn’t find the key to her motorbike.

The hunt was on.

We scoured the whole joint up and down, combing the gravel floor with our eyes over and over. Moving plates around the tables. Picking up chairs.

Over the years, I’ve come to learn Ann is one of the most stubborn people on Earth, and her determination was on full blast that night, infecting everyone. Half the restaurant joined in to help – not just staff, but even some customers.

Even after the first couple sweeps of the place, she wasn’t giving up without a fight. I thought she might rip off that big hat at any minute and stomp it into the ground.

But alas the hour came when she had no choice but to give in – it was getting late and she had work in the morning.

Being Thailand, there was a real risk someone had swiped her keys and meant to come back later at night for the motorbike, so Ann paid a couple tuk tuk drivers to load her little motorcycle up into their vehicle, and she headed home frustrated.

About two hours later, however, my cell phone started ringing. It was Ann. And I could hear her grinning through the phone. “I found the key to the motorbike.”

“Awesome!” I said. “Where in the world was it?”


“Ann, where was it?”

“No!” She was busting up in spite of herself. “I cannot tell you. You’re going to laugh at me.”

“No, no,” I said, already holding back my own laughter. “I promise.”


“I won’t laugh at you, Ann.”

“They were sitting on my head,” she finally said.


“On top of my hair. I put them under my hat because I didn’t want to lose them.”