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The true story of an ordinary hero

China Daily | Updated: 2013-02-06 09:07

People in Changsha, Hunan province, have been mourning the death of an old man, Cai Zongyi, who used to run a newsstand. Locals called him the "Newsstand Grandpa" because he used to offer books and newspapers to young people for free and encourage them to achieve higher goals, says an article on xinhuanet. Excerpts:

Why is the death of an ordinary newsstand owner being mourned by so many people, many of whom didn't even know him? According to reports, Cai had been running the newsstand for nearly 15 years and welcomed many, especially youths, with a smile, encouragement and free books, magazines and newspapers. He remembered the names and hobbies of many students even after they had graduated from universities and taken up jobs elsewhere.

His encouragement and optimism helped many youths to achieve higher goals. Reportedly, one youngster said: "Grandpa Cai likes us all, and we would like to treat him like our family member." Another resident said Cai celebrated life and had a positive influence on youths.

Urbanization, many say, has created "a society of strangers", in which relatives fight for real estate and friends take on each other for more money and power. In such a situation, very few help others. Perhaps that's why Cai had been such an inspiring character.

Society could do better with a few more "Newsstand Grandpas", especially in times when people are becoming increasingly self-centered and money-minded.

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