If that sounds like a small price for an elephant to pay in exchange for food and care, it's not. Young elephants undergo something called the training crush, so called because it crushes their spirit and forces them into submission. Sontaya had almost certainly received such training when she was young, years before she came to her current home.
And most elephants used in tourism, like Sontaya, exhibit repetitive behaviors such as swaying back and forth - a sign of psychological distress.
Sontaya's small spot in the world, at a camp in Pattaya, Thailand, looked something like an outdoor stable - a small space where she waited when she wasn't catering to tourists.