The video below captures a scene from bus 81 in Pudong last week that has sparked massive controversy online. It shows an elderly bottle picker who, after paying his fair and bringing his bags on board, is shoved around and yelled at by both the driver and a male passenger as they try to throw his stuff off the bus. The passenger continues to scream at the old man as the bus eventually moves forward, accusing him of stinking up the bus and inconveniencing others. At the next stop, the passenger grabs one of the bags and pulls it off the bus, tearing it and scattering the contents. The old man is left scrambling to pick up his livelihood before the doors slam shut.
The bus driver has since been suspended and debate is underway over whether the old man actually did violate rules by exceeding bag size limits and bringing dangerous materials onboard.
But the debate online has come out loudly in support of the bottle picker. Many respondents scold the driver and passenger for callously picking on such an old man, and call for more support and tolerance for those less fortunate, especially the elderly and poor. A lot of negative comments have also been made about Shanghai residents specifically, many calling them “beasts.”
The controversy once again highlights growing tensions as income gaps widen, especially in urban centers, where disenfranchised come and attempt to make a living by collecting and sorting through our garbage.
Video after the jump…