During the Vietnam War, a rural village had been bombed, and an orphanage run by missionaries had been hit. An eight-year-old girl had multiple injuries and was bleeding profusely. A Navy doctor and nurse came but only had their medical kits. The girl was in critical condition and needed an immediate blood transfusion.
Neither American had the right blood type; however, several of the uninjured childred did. The Navy doctor tried to communicate in some pidgin Vietnamese and to the nurse in some French. They tried to explain that unless someone could replace some of the girl’s blood, she was going to die. They asked if anyone would be willing to give some blood.
Wide-eyed silence met their request. After several moments of eye-searching, a little hand went up and dropped down and went back up again. “Oh, thank you,” the nurse exclaimed. “What’s your name?”
“Heng,” the little boy replied.
During the procedure, Heng covered his face with his free hand and started to cry. “Is it hurting, Heng?” asked the nurse. He shook his head, but something was upsetting the boy.
Just then a Vietnamese nurse arrived to help. She learned that the little boy thought he was dying. “He misunderstood and thought you had asked him to give all of his blood to save the little girl,” she said.
“But why would he be willing to do that?” the Navy nurse asked.
The Vietnamese nurse asked Heng why. He answered, “Because she is my friend.”
Contributed by: Marilyn Murphree