Many of us equate money and fame with happiness and respect. We work all our lives for money and fame. Yet, at the same time we become short-sighted over the suffering of people from within our society. We turn on the television and worship celebrities as heroes. But we forget the true heroes who deserve more credit than the people on TV.
We forget ourselves and we forget that respect is earned through actions and not bought.
At the age of 74, Bai Fang Li was supposed to retire but he became a trishaw driver instead. A trishaw driver earns less than the average person in China and the job is a tough one. The reason he postponed his retirement by 20 years was to help children in poverty to continue with their education. He cared very much for these poor children and donated his earnings to help pay for their education and living expenses. Essentially, by helping them with their education, he saved 300 students, and in consequence their families, from their fate of living in poverty.
Over twenty years, he donated around US$55,000 (almost all his earnings). His only wish was that the students would study hard, gain good employment and pass on the kindness to their fellow country-men.
One day, due to his age he could no longer peddle the trishaw. But he did not give up. At the age of nearly 90, he took on a job to look after cars at a station, saving up to US$78 to donate to these student. This was his last donation. And it was in sadness that he said he could no longer work and as a result could no longer help the kids.
Soon after, he passed away at the age of 93, with hundreds turning up at his funeral.
Fang Li earned respect and showed that you really needn’t be wealthy to contribute to society. Even at a great age, he persevered on to help poor kids in their education till he died. And he truly is a hero