One of the luckiest things that can happen in life is that someone comes to your aid when you are in need. And it'll become an even more heartening story if the one who extended a helping hand is cared for by others when he or she gets into a difficult situation. Such warm and heartening stories abound these days in our city, despite the threats from the coronavirus.
We had never relied on deliverymen for our daily necessities so heavily as we did in mid-March, when we worked from home as required to stem the spread of the COVID-19. Some of them, fearing they would not be able to come out to work the next day if they went home for a night of rest only to discover an overnight lockdown ensued in their residential area, chose to sleep under overpasses or on park benches. Photos of them sleeping in those outdoor places began to circulate online on March 15, the second day after Shenzhen issued a notice to ask residents to work at home and enterprises, except those responsible for supplying daily essentials, to suspend operations.
My heart ached for them when I saw the photos, considering the facts that they'd been at our service every day during the daytime and they're mortal human beings of flesh and blood just like the rest of us. But my sorrow was soon lessened. Much to my relief, the next day enterprises, institutions and government agencies across the city sprang into action, offering them free accommodation either at hotels, on campuses, or at courier stations.
I soon saw photos of classroom floors with bedding and toiletry items neatly lined up on them, of school staffers installing water heaters to allow deliverymen to take showers, and of courier stations supplied with bottled water and food.
Another recent case that shows ordinary residents are cared for involved a steamed stuffed bun seller surnamed Lai in Nanshan District. The man in his 20s left a message below a post on the Shenzhen Municipal Health Commission's WeChat account also on March 15, saying he was in despair because he was going through financial distress due to the recent COVID resurgence. Community workers in his area, after reading the message, paid him a visit immediately to see what they could do to help and encouraged him with kind words. That night, he received an unexpected large order for 300 steamed stuffed buns from his community that tried to show their support.
There is a long list of such small acts of kindness that I've recently learned happening in almost every corner of the city. There are expats and Chinese volunteers serving their communities, medical workers providing mother-like care to young COVID patients, community workers taking care of the pets left behind by their sick owners, and residents showing their gratitude to volunteers and medical workers in various ways. One of my colleagues reached out to help as soon as he learned one of our expat readers was under lockdown, encountered a language barrier, and ran short of drinking water at 1 a.m. in the morning.
Of course, there were also internet trolls believing each of these kind acts had an underlying selfish purpose. What they need to remember is a small act of kindness can make an unthinkable difference as kindness and love is contagious.
The trickle-down effect of showing love and care is powerful, powerful enough to overshadow the threats posed by any virus.
(The author is a Finance Department editor of Shenzhen Daily.)