He was sitting under a bridge. Wearing a coat in autumn wind. His disposition was solemnly happy. Our northeastern food was in our doggy bag, ready to give to the first homeless person we encountered. At first glance David thought this man was not a true homeless person. We soon realized he had down syndrome, something you don’t, if hardly ever happen to see, in public, in China.
We gave him the rest of our fried eggplant and pumpkin doughnut. He said “xie xie, aiyi,” which is very respectful to say, ‘thank you, aunt.’ We could feel his heart and got tears in our eyes. We decided he would be very thirsty so we went to buy him two liters of water and bring it back. David decided to ask him why not return home. Upon doing so the look of horror couldn’t escape a sullen face on David. We handed him some money and turned away once more. David was finally able to tell me, ‘his parents brought him to Shenzhen, and then said we don’t want you anymore, goodbye.’ Both of us couldn’t speak. We decided to buy the boy some bread. For a third time we returned. I wanted to give him more money. David knelt beside the boy to make sure he could understand money. He could not. He couldn’t tell 100 RMB from 5 RMB. All he knew was it was money. And though he couldn’t understand money he could understand…his parents didn’t want him.
A little boy was watching us. After we said goodbye the little boy said to us, ‘shushu, hao, aiyi, hao.’ Acknowledging what we’d done, and basically saying I look up to you, Uncle and Aunt.