In 1987, a 74-year old rickshaw puller by the name of Bai Fangli came back to his hometown planning to retire from his backbreaking job. There, he saw children working in the fields, because they were too poor to afford school fees.
Bai returned to Tianjin and went back to work as a rickshaw puller, taking a modest accommodation next to the railway station. He waited for clients 24 hours a day, ate simple food and wore discarded second-hand clothes he found. He gave all of his hard-earned earnings to support children who could not afford education.
In 2001, he drove his rickshaw to Tianjin YaoHua Middle School, to deliver his last installment of money. Nearly 90 years old, he told the students that he couldn't work any more. All of the students and teachers were moved to tears.
In total, Bai had donated a total of 350,000 yuan to help more than 300 poor students continue with their studies. In 2005, Bai passed away leaving behind an inspiring legacy.
Too many times, we were stuck with this common misconception that one can only achieve big things, when he is affluent.
Too many times, we were stuck with this common misconception that one can only do things that are impactful when he has enough power and authority.
Or maybe, we were just pushing the responsibility away, pointing fingers at others.
Too many times, we did not notice heroes like the Mr. Bai just because he is not the norm definition of attractive that will seek our attention.
Too many times, we did not respect people who deserve it just because we judge only the physical appearance of others.
Too many times, we complaint others are not doing enough, when we could do so much.
Too many times, we were just waiting for others to fix things.
It's clearly not Mr. Bai's responsibility to make it happen for these children to go to school. Yet, he chose to do it when he witness them not able to receive education.
Mr. Bai, thank you for doing so much for people who have no blood relation with you, for your entire life. You have such a big heart, you are so amazing. I'm not too sure how many of us could be this selfless and assist those who need our help.
Nonetheless, your story remains as one solid reminder, for all of us.
Think again: If a rickshaw-puller who wore used clothes and had no education can support 300 children to go to school, imagine we can do with the resources we have to bring about positive change in our world.