Italian Engineer Stranded by Covid Volunteers for Traffic Duty

Manuel Placate on June 1, 2020.

NAKHON RATCHASIMA — Reflective neon jacket on and armed with a good attitude, Manuel waves cars into the breakdown lane and takes a look under the hood.

For three months that he was left stranded in Thailand due to the coronavirus outbreak, 30-year-old Italian engineer Manuel Placate has been volunteering to help traffic police in Nakhon Ratchasima and providing assistance to motorists in need. 

“I like helping everybody,” Placate said by phone Monday. “I help out father. Before when I came to Thailand, I would help out at the school, take care of the garden.” 

On Monday, he was on traffic duty near the Baan Ya Kha Intersection on Mittraphap Road heading out of Nakhon Ratchasima in Non Sung district. 


Placate’s partner-in-volunteering is his girlfriend’s father, retired police officer Lt. Capt. Wibul Sridamrong who now works towing cars. The pair decided to help local police after they noticed an increasing number of cars on Mitraphap Road. 

Placate was on vacation in Thailand with his girlfriend, Wibul’s daughter, when the coronavirus pandemic broke out, barring them from a return trip to Guadeloupe in the Carribean, where Placate works as a mechanical supervisor. 

Stranded tourists and expats have been noted for their volunteer work since the coronavirus pandemic broke out, such as giving out free meals and helping monks at a temple.

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Manuel Placate looks under the hood of a car June 1, 2020 on Mittraphap Road in Nakhon Ratchasima.

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