Some say the conductor was being a bully, but the coach firm says the women were drunk and abusive.
Three videos posted on Facebook on Tuesday showing a Vietnamese man trying to force two foreign women off a coach in Nha Trang have been met with mixed opinions.
The videos capture the angry-looking man, who appears to be the conductor, shouting in English and Vietnamese telling the two women to get off the coach immediately.
The Taiwanese tourist who posted the videos said that she and other passengers had been allocated tickets without seat numbers when they boarded the Viet Nhat Travel Company coach, also known as Queen Cafe, in Nha Trang, a popular resort town in central Vietnam.
They were traveling from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City and were transiting in Nha Trang.
It all started when the two women asked to change seats. “The girls just wanted window seats because they felt uncomfortable on the last bus, and tried their best to explain, but the man threatened them and anyone who did not obey his orders,” read the post.
The videos show the row escalating and the man throwing the women’s bags off the coach.
When a foreign man approached the conductor and tried to defend the women, he was yelled at and threatened with a stick.
The three videos have been shared tens of thousands of times and the comments on Facebook have been flying in, with most people saying the conductor’s actions were cruel and completely unacceptable.
Dung Ngoc, a netizen, said although she didn’t know the whole story, she was upset to see a service sector employee acting in that way.
Tuyet Mai Phan, another netizen, said it had disgraced Vietnamese people, while Nguyen Lam called for the man to be fired.
Foreigners commenting on the videos also said it had made them wonder if Vietnam is a safe place to visit.
But there is always another side to the story.
Le Thi My Thao from Queen Café said the company had fired the man in the videos, saying they were not proud of the way he had reacted, but that there were extenuating circumstances.
“The two women appeared to be drunk on the coach and tried to challenge people for the seats they wanted instead of following the conductor’s instructions,” Thao said. “After being warned, they challenged him and spat on the coach.”
Explaining why the tickets had no seat numbers, she said they were open tickets so the company could sell them to passengers at any time.
She added that the conductor had just wanted them to get off the coach to “have a conversation”, but his English was not good enough, which complicated the matter further.
“Later on, the two women apologized for being drunk and causing such a mess. They got back on the coach and continued their trip. The story ended without any further problems,” she said.
Vietnam’s tourism authorities have been striving to attract more foreign visitors to the country. They are eyeing a 15 percent increase in international tourists this year after the country received 950,000 foreign arrivals in the first six months of 2017, an increase of 30 percent against the same period last year, according to official data.
Tourism is expected to contribute 10 percent to Vietnam’s gross domestic product and become a key driving force behind the economy by 2020, when the country is expected to receive up to 20 million foreign visitors and earn $35 billion in tourism revenue.