Disabled couple walks 500 kilometres to raise money for children's education

Bank teller in Huangshi spends three hours counting more than 3,000 coins they collected

PUBLISHED : Friday, 14 November, 2014, 6:05pm
UPDATED : Friday, 14 November, 2014, 6:13pm

A farmer couple, both physically challenged, walked into a bank in Huangshi, Hubei province in central China yesterday morning wanting to cash in more than 3,000 coins, Dongchu Evening News reported.

They had collected the money during a two-month hike from their hometown in Anhui in a bid to raise tuition for their two children.

The couple had been turned down previously by several other banks in their effort to trade in the coins. But on Thursday a teller at China Postal Savings Bank spent three hours sorting out the coins, many in the amount of 10 cents, 5 cents and 1 cent. They added up to 300 yuan (HK$400).

The couple then wired the money to their daughter, who is in college, the Evening News reported.

“It’s the first time someone walked in with so many coins,” said Li, a worker at the bank who helped the couple, Gao Guanglin, 49, who is blind, and his wife, Wang Fang, 54, who suffers from an illness that makes walking difficult.

They normally make a living by growing rice and wheat in Guoyang, 500km from Huangshi. A draught this summer had caught them off-guard. Running out of means to provide for their two children, who were both in school, the couple decided to go away and beg for money. They had left without telling their children. 

Being a craftsman despite of the loss of his eyesight, Gao would give people who made a donation a handmade lucky charm as a thank-you gift.

“It’s getting cold, and we’d like to go home and buy some warm clothes for our children,” Gao said after the staffers at the bank had bought them lunch.

The story trigged heated discussions on Chinese social media today, with many saying they were saddened and infuriated.

“I admire them for what they are willing to do to put their kids through school,” wrote one microblogger.

“Not every beggar on the street is a con,” another wrote. “It’s a shame what they had to go through.”