Chen Xianmei receiving a “hongbao” from the Nanhai District Civilisation Office.
Commendations, rewards and job offers have come flooding in for Chen Xianmei, the 58-year-old scrap peddler who came to the rescue of Yueyue, the Foshan toddler who was left to die by the side of a road after a double hit-and-run last week.
The Civilisation Offices of the Nanhai District and the Dali Town have commended her for stepping forward to help the little girl, and have each given her a reward of RMB10,000. The owner of one IT company was particularly touched by Chen’s actions. He sent her RMB50,000 and an offer to join his company as an “honorary employee” so she could have a more stable source of income. Another man, surnamed Cao, who owns a verified account on Sina Weibo as a Guangzhou CPPCC member, said he had sent Chen a RMB5,000 hongbao in his own personal capacity to commend her actions.
Taken aback by all the offers of financial support, Chen has asked the public not to send her any more money but to send all donations to Yueyue’s family instead. She has pledged some of her reward money from the Civilisation Offices to Yueyue.
Chen has found the life of a Good Samaritan an uneasy one. It began, she said, the day she saved Yueyue. As soon as she was done pulling the girl to the side of the road, she went around all the stores in the neighbourhood asking if anyone had lost their daughter, only to be told to “mind your own business”.
Now with all of the media attention focussed on her, as well as government officials and journalists knocking on her door night and day, Chen says she doesn’t even dare to turn on the television anymore.
“A lot of people are now saying that I’m doing it to get famous, and to get money. Even my neighbours are now saying so!” she said. “That really wasn’t my intention, and I’m so afraid of hearing what people are saying that I don’t dare to watch the news. I’m not out for fame or money.”
When asked what she thought about the negative things that people were now saying about her, Chen said, “I didn’t steal or rob. All I did was to save a child,” as tears began to fill her eyes.
Would she do it all over again, having suffered these unnecessary grievances? “Yes, I would!” she replied without hesitation.
Previously on Shanghaiist
1. Watch: Toddler run over by two vehicles, ignored by all but one trash collector
2. Foshan toddler passes away [UPDATE: Toddler still alive]
3. Foshan toddler Yueyue still under intensive care
4. Meet: Chen Xianmei, the trash collector who came to the rescue of Foshan toddler Yueyue
5. Adam Minter: Chen Xianmei’s a “scrap peddler” not “trash collector”
6. Will a belief in God make more Good Samaritans out of us?