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Lost and found: Chinese help man retrieve lost wages

Xinhua | Updated: 2017-01-19 09:29

JINAN -- A street cleaner, 70, lost an envelope containing three months' wages, only to be given the same amount of money back the very next day.

It all started with a post on WeChat.

"Please forward this message to help an old street cleaner retrieve an envelope containing 3,360 yuan ($491 dollars) in cash. That was his wage for the past three months, a pretty big amount for a low-income earner like him."

Zhao Ping, 30, who sells buns in downtown Wudi County, Eastern China's Shandong province, posted the WeChat message on Jan. 13, shortly after she learned of Cheng Yanxin's loss.

Cheng often has his breakfast and morning break at Zhao's small restaurant, and she was eager to help

"He seemed quiet and sullen when he came in that morning," Zhao said. "He told me he had lost all his money on his way home the previous night."

Zhao's post quickly went viral, and within five minutes of the posting she received a phone call.

"The man on the phone said he did not have the envelope, but was willing to donate some money," Zhao said.

For the next two hours, Zhao received nearly 100 calls from people in Shandong as well as faraway provinces and regions including Hebei, Sichuan, Hubei and even Tibet and Xinjiang.

"Many offered to donate money for the old man," she said.

Zhao was hesitating whether it was proper to accept the cash donations when someone came into her restaurant with an envelope containing the exact amount of lost money, saying he received it by accident.

"I was delighted and immediately gave it to Cheng," Zhao said.

However, Cheng realized it was not the envelope he lost, claiming the money was not his.

"I remembered clearly the lost envelope had my name written in a blue ballpoint pen, but on this envelope my name was written in black ink and the second character was wrong," Cheng told Xinhua in an interview Wednesday.

Zhao said that she had neglected the details when she described the envelope.

"I thought his name was Cheng Jianxin," she said.

She later found out that the money was donated by Liu Deting, a business executive based in Wudi County, and his friends.

Liu, deputy managing director of a local biotech firm, received online remittance of 3,360 yuan from a friend after he heard of Cheng's loss.

"My friend told me to forward the money to Cheng," Liu said

Liu, 27, also decided to chip in, donating 1,800 yuan and accepting 1,560 yuan from his friends.

"I asked a friend to fake an envelope with the old man's name on it, in accordance with the description in the WeChat message," Liu said.

Liu said that he was sorry Cheng saw through his lie.

Cheng eventually accepted the money at Zhao's persuasion.

"Though the envelope is fake, the love it conveys is true," Zhao said.

Cheng has been cleaning the streets in Wudi County for more than 10 years. Wang Shuchun, deputy chief of civil affairs in Wudi, said that Cheng had a government grant for low-income earners and other social security benefits, but insisted on working to support himself.

"I want to say thank you to all those who cared for me and tried to help me," Cheng told Xinhua. "I'm still healthy and strong and prefer to earn my own bread."

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