Adul-Sam-on played a key role in the incredible rescue effort that saved 12 soccer players and their coach from a Thai cave. The best part? He was just 14 years old and also a member of the team. As it turns out, Adul-Sam-on, who is described as “stateless,” serve as a translator because of his proficiency in multiple languages. Adul-Sam-on knows Thai, Wa, Burmese, Mandarin, and English.
Because of his ability to speak multiple languages, Adul-Sam-on was able to help coordinate communication between the volunteers who were helping in the rescue efforts.
From the New York Daily News:
In video streamed worldwide shortly after the rescue, Adul can be seen wide-eyed and thin in the depths of the cave alongside his eleven teammates.
“I’m Adul, I’m in good health,” the 14-year-old said in Thai, offering a traditional “Wa” greeting — which signals politeness. In addition to speaking both Thai and Wa, Adul is also proficient in Burmese, Mandarin and English.
His diverse knowledge of languages allowed him not only to speak on behalf of his team but coordinate and communicate between rescuers and the terrified soccer players.
Adul questioned divers on how long they’d been trapped and told their rescuers that getting food was their top priority. “Eat, eat, eat” one his friends piped in, prompting the teen to let him know that he’d already addressed that.
His story was featured in a segment on CBS This Morning:
The 14-year-old fled Myanmar when he was just six years old. His family came to Thailand with the hope of setting up a better life and education for their son. Despite being “stateless” and not being a citizen of any country, he’s the top student in his class at the Bang Wiang Phan School in Mae Sai. Because of his academic record and being on the soccer team, Adul-Sam-on receives free tuition and daily lunch.
At a time when everyone is praising the heroes who helped save the kids and their coach in the seemingly impossible rescue that cost former Thai Navy Seal Saman Gunan his life, it’s also important to remember the heroes like Adul-Sam-on who helped his teammates out when they needed it the most.