More than 180 sanitation workers in Chengdu, Sichuan province enjoyed a free lunch courtesy of a local hotpot restaurant yesterday as temperatures hovered near the single digits.
The restaurant remained closed to the public as it treated the workers to a free hotpot lunch, Xinhua News reports. Workers were encouraged to order whatever they wanted, including alcohol.
The organizer of the lunch, a man surnamed Li, told Xinhua that they wanted to show their appreciation for the cleaners’ hard work. “Their jobs are really tough. We hope to bring warmth to them during the cold winter,” he said.
When the restaurant first opened, employees promoted the place by distributing more than 100,000 leaflets that were, of course, thrown and scattered on the streets for sanitation workers to clean up.
“We also want to apologize for that through this free lunch,” said Li.
Sanitation workers around the area were invited to the event through a neighborhood committee. Li hopes more restaurants will follow suit and hold similar events to pass on the warmth and express gratitude to workers who help make the area tidy and beautiful.
Sanitation workers are among those making the lowest salaries, with some of the worst working conditions and longest working hours in China. When covering the sanitation worker strike in Guangzhou in 2013, SCMP reported that some sanitation workers woke up at 3:00 a.m. and worked for eight to nine hours every day to earn around 1,600 yuan a month.
Online, most netizens chose not to see it as a publicity stunt, but an act of kindness by the restaurant.
“Their (sanitation workers) greatness is that they bring optimism and beauty to people, despite bad weather. They are the cleanest and most beautiful people!” a web user named “keeple” said.
“Some regard this as a show, but I feel the restaurant owner showed his care and kindness,” netizen “liuleidewutong21” wrote.
By Dina Li