Meet the late-night jobbers

While we’re cuddled up in bed, some people stay up all night (or most of it) to make their living. We talk to three professional night owls who work ina completely different shift from most of us.
night jobbers
By Gail Piyanan |

Medical doctor

Tham Vidayavadhana, 37, endocrinologist at Sirindhorn Hospital


What was the maximum number of patients you’ve ever had in a night?

About 120 cases. They were a mix of emergency situations like patients who had a heart attack or got wounded from a gunshot, urgency cases like those having a cold or diarrhea, and non-urgent ones like people who came asking for a medical certificate. The biggest challenge for an emergency room doctor is that you need to be able to tell which case is an emergency and which case is not in no time. 

Have you experienced any unusual cases inside the ER?             

Plenty. There were people with mental health problems, a person who tried to win back an attention from her partner by taking 30 tablets of paracetamol, a woman who gave birth to her child just a day after she visited for a prenatal care consultation.

What’s the worst thing about working the night?

Some people, like Interior decorators or train engineers, choose to work at night and sleep during the day. But doctors are often required to work up to 24-36 hours nonstop, or even longer. As emergencies usually arrive at odd hours, and stress level is heightened in situations where you are dealing with people’s lives. Working overnight is not the life we choose.


Bus conductor

Ketsirin Thanakanphonloed, 40, bus conductor on Bus No.29


What does your job involve, besides fare collecting?

My eight-hour shift starts from 16:00 to 02:00 or 20:00 to 05:00, with an hour break in-between. [Each night] begins with collecting a ticket dispenser from the bus center, preparing up enough 50-satang and 1-baht coins for change, and cleaning up the bus.

What are the perks of working the night shifts?

Much less traffic and the weather is always cooler at night, especially when you are a bus conductor for a non-air con bus.

Who are the majority of night-time passengers?

Surprisingly, most of the customers are women in their thirties. They are people who travel to work in the city during the day and return to their residences on the outskirts at night. These people are shopping mall staff, restaurant cooks and waiters who finish work at late hours. [Seeing them regularly] I could recognize many of them. 

Any unusual experiences?

I often encounter drunk passengers. Some of them got on the bus and just fell asleep, requiring me to wake them up once the bus reaches the terminal. One night, there were about 10 passengers on the bus, there was this guy jumping on the bus, who I wasn’t quite sure if he’s drunk, but he refused to pay the fares and, instead, swore at other passengers as well as cars running alongside. Luckily, there was a security checkpoint setting ahead with a bunch of police officers, who later brought him down.


Call center

Anyapat Thitichayaniran, 35, call center personal assistant at AIS


What is your job like?

My primary duty is to consult and find solutions for high-spending customers (under AIS Serenade program). Many of them are business owners who often travel, calling from abroad at odd hours, and demand their problems to be solved immediately. 

How are night-time customers different from day-time customers?

People calling from Thailand are usually not in a rush so they have more time for me to handle the case. 

Have you ever received any strange calls?

There used to be customers who were dealing with their harsh time in life and would call to talk about family and relationship matters. There was this person who’s just broken up with her boyfriend. She rang in to cry, lamenting she didn’t want to live any longer. I told her to calm down and that I was here to support. I didn’t give her any advice, yet was on the line listening to what she said all the way.

More to explore