Chinese girl, 7, spends days in mum’s delivery van rather than be a left-behind child

Despite her reservations, her parents believe it is preferable to leaving her with her grandparents after regretting their more distant relationship with their son

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 21 August, 2018, 5:54pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 23 August, 2018, 1:12am

A seven-year-old girl has become her mother’s travelling work companion, delivering goods around eastern China by van since she was four, according to a mainland media report.

Miaomiao is spending much of her childhood around freight yards and warehouses, but her mother, a delivery van driver, considers this a better option than letting her become a “left-behind child”, Qianjiang Evening News reported on Monday.

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“I have no other choice,” it quoted the girl’s mother, Zhang Xiaoyun, as saying. “If there were people available to look after the child, which parent would allow their child to accompany them in a van on their delivery rounds every day?”

Miaomiao attends school, but on weekends, public holidays and vacations she will be in the passenger’s seat in her mother’s van, stated the report, as Zhang drives around Hangzhou, in Zhejiang province, delivering goods.

“I always warn her [during my delivery rounds], ‘You’re still young and it’s dangerous for you to come out to wander around,’” Zhang was quoted as saying. “Sometimes it gets very hot in the van and she will just fall asleep.”

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Asked if she wanted to embark on another delivery round with her mother, Miaomiao was reported to have shrugged and said: “I don’t want to go. It’s so stuffy in the van. If Mum switches on the air conditioning, it uses more petrol.”

Still, she picked up her belongings and dutifully boarded the van with her mother.

Zhang and her husband have been in the logistics business for more than 20 years, both as delivery van drivers, according to the report.

It stated that the husband’s parents live in a village in their hometown, Lanxi, a three-hour drive from Hangzhou, and that, after arriving in Hangzhou, the couple had a son, who they sent to his grandparents because they were too busy to take care of him.

Later, when they returned to visit, the newspaper said, they found the son treated them like strangers. “And we also missed seeing him growing up,” said Zhang.

Following that experience, and given the old age of her parents-in-law, Zhang decided their daughter should stay with her when she started at kindergarten three years ago, said the report.

Asked whether she liked living in the city, Miaomiao was reported to have said she preferred her hometown to Hangzhou because the small driving cab and toy dolls could never replace companions her own age.

Although her parents still could not afford to buy a flat in Hangzhou, Zhang thought life there was better than in their home village, and insisted Miaomiao would stay, adding that it was a joy to be able to witness her daughter’s growth, stated the report.

“Let others say what they want about us,” Zhang said. “We will continue to live a life true to ourselves.”