Landon Carnie acted on impulse as he shot up his hand and hollered“$2000” across the glittering Sheraton Ballroom during this year’s Saigon Summer Ball live auction.
“There was really no thought in the decision to bid,”the RMIT Vietnam lecturer said. “I was just sitting there, eating and talking with my friends and suddenly I just made a bid and went back to eating and talking.”
His bid was announced as the highest and received a lot of applause, while Landon started thinking: ‘What am I going to do with this? I already have a bike I like.’
Landon then made an extraordinary decision – he waved the auctioneer over, telling him he wanted to donate the Honda Cub back to help Saigon Children’s Charity raise even more funds to help disadvantaged children.
Landon Carnie (on the left) was talking to the auctioneer
The bike was auctioned off for another 1500USD and with Landon’s first win of 2000USD, it generated enough money to keep 35 children in school for a whole year.
His two friends Jade and Brett Davis were inspired by his commitment and split the bid with him.
“As a young child I survived a plane crash and was given the privilege to live in the US where I had all the opportunities to succeed,” Landon said.
Landon and his US-based twin sister Lori survived 1975’s Operation Baby lift crash which killed 138 people, including 78 children, on the outskirts of Ho Chi Minh City.
A military plane—bringing Vietnamese orphans to the United States at the end of the war—struck trouble only 12 minutes after taking off from Tan Son Nhat Airport. The aircraft eventually broke up into four parts, some of which caught alight. Landon, his sister and 300 other surviving children were brought to the US by a philanthropic businessman who mortgaged his house to help the children.
“I feel I have succeeded and feel honoured to have gone through my past experiences as they have shaped the way I look at and live my life, a life of compassion and hope,” Landon explained.
“What’s the point of believing in something but not acting on it?”