“This is a special letter of thanks to a girl who didn’t leave her name after helping me, giving me a packet of face masks for free at a time of need. I will never forget her good deed…” reads the beginning of the letter of gratitude (attached , which crossed a thousand kilometers from Jingzhou, in Hubei province, to finally reach the president’s office of SCNU in Guangzhou.


The author is a 66-year-old migrant worker from Jingzhou. He was so grateful for what the girl had done that he kept looking for her for about a month, to express his heartfelt ‘thanks’.    

The girl mentioned in the letter is named Yang Lili, a doctoral student at the School of Chinese Language and Literature of SCNU. “I didn’t expect to be remembered for such small deed,” says Lili, who started to recall the incident. It all happened on 23 January. Lili went to her mother’s clinic and took a few packets of face masks with her to shield against the coronavirus. On her way back, she saw a man who seemed to be arguing with the driver at the rear door of a bus.

Lili recognized the man who had just visited her mother’s clinic. “I left the clinic after him. As I got closer, I noticed that the man wasn’t wearing a face mask and the driver was gesturing him to leave.”

At that time, the COVID-19 epidemic was very severe in China, in particular in Hubei province, whose capital city Wuhan was the epicenter of the outbreak. The situation was grave. Local authorities mandated that everyone should wear face masks in public places or going to crowded places. 

Considering that the man would be refused from getting on the bus, she went up to him and gave both him and the driver a packet of face masks, without a second thought. She also suggested the driver to hand out face masks to passengers without one.

“What I did was only a small thing compared with what my parents have done,” says Lili, noting that her mother, a doctor at the local clinic, has given out free face masks to her patients in need ever since the epidemic broke out, while her father, a CPC member, has volunteered to serve as a community worker to help deliver daily necessities and check temperatures in the local community.

According to the letter, the man had not received his pay at the end of the year. What’s worse, without wearing a facemask, he could not take the bus to go home for the Spring Festival. It was Lili’s timely help that solved this problem and gave him a sense of dignity.

“I also want to thank SCNU for cultivating such a good student. Thank you, good girl, you have let us feel the warmth of the society. Please accept the money for the face masks,” wrote the man, who sent the letter enclosing 100 yuan.

Like Yang Lili, many SCNU students have contributed with kindness to others during the epidemic. Some of them volunteered to serve in their communities, helping to deliver necessities to residents or take the temperature of the villagers. Some of them made the best of their knowledge, giving free on-line courses to students in Wuhan or the children whose parents are fighting against the virus on the front line. 

Facing the coronavirus, students of SCNU kindly and courageously have taken on their responsibility to help people in need. Small as it is, their deeds of great love and kindness towards people around them will surely brighten this gloomy winter.



Translated by Long Yuchen

Proofread by Edwin Baak

Edited and reviewed by Li Jianru

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