Recently, a ‘wedding photo’ of an elderly woman and a young man, with an age difference of 61 years went viral on Chinese social media platforms. However, the reason behind it tells of a touching story about how a woman spent her life caring for abandoned babies on the streets.
According to Oriental Daily, Zhang is a 24-year-old firefighter from Fenyi County, Xinyu, Jiangxi province while the elderly woman is Tang, who is 85-years-old this year.
In an interview, Zhang said that Tang has been rescuing babies abandoned near hospitals and caring for them on her own since 1983. After the babies are strong and healthy, Tang would send them to welfare institutions or put them up for adoption.
But when it comes to infants who are physically weak, Tang would adopt them herself and raise them as her own children. Zhang is one of the six abandoned babies that she has adopted.
It was 24 years ago that Tang, who was 61 years old at the time, rescued Zhang who was abandoned as a baby. He was then raised by Tang and her husband along with six other orphans and five of the couple’s biological children. The couple relied on their retirement salary and income from selling vegetables to support their large family.
Zhang’s sister was also one of the kids who was adopted and they would call her grandma as they were young enough to be her grandchildren.
Supported by the fire department
With such a large family to take care of, Tang and her husband experienced a lot of financial difficulties. Thankfully in 2001, the fire department in the Fenyi county learned about their situation and decided to subsidise Zhang and his sister’s tuition fees.
For about a decade or so, despite having a change of firefighters in the team, the fire department continued to support them until Zhang graduated from high school in 2016 and his sister graduated from college in 2013.
Over the years, the team planted a seed in Zhang’s heart. After he graduated and was admitted to college, Zhang chose to follow his dream and join the army to serve the country instead of pursuing his studies. The firefighters who supported him while he was growing up then became his colleagues.
In 2020, he won third-class for his outstanding performance.
However, Zhang admitted that after he joined the fire brigade, the job was harder than he expected. But because he felt that the purpose of his job was to serve the people, he never regretted his decision.
“My grandma gave me a second life, and the firefighters who helped me gave me a third life,” Zhang said.
He added that he is now able to support two students whose mothers have died and whose families are financially unstable.
Wants to do something nice for grandma
Now that Zhang spends less time with his grandma because of his job, he would often take her out whenever he has a holiday.
Additionally, Zhang said that when his grandma was young, she loved beauty very much, but never had the chance to pamper herself because she had to take care of the family. She has never even worn a wedding dress in her life!
In May 2020, Zhang took advantage of his annual leaves and quietly arranged a surprise wedding photoshoot for his grandma and grandpa. However, on that day, his grandpa was unable to make it for the photoshoot due to physical reasons.
So, Zhang put on a uniform to accompany his grandma for the photoshoot. He said that when his grandma saw the photos, she was shy but happy.
During Chinese New Year this year (2021), the fire brigade invited grandma to have reunion dinner with them.
Zhang said that he is very satisfied with his life now. His greatest wish is that his grandma will always be healthy and that he will have more time to keep her company.
He also said that although grandma only had elementary school education, he learned kindness, consideration for others, and gratefulness from her.
“Although she is small and short, she has carried a lot of things and has a strong heart.”
Awww, grandma Tang deserves all the happiness in the world for dedicating her life to others. Stay strong and healthy, grandma!
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