Striving to live a trusting and trusted life

Wang Yong
A street vendor in central China had a pleasant surprise the other day when an urban management officer took care of his booth after he had to leave to attend to an emergency.
Wang Yong

A street vendor in central China had a pleasant surprise the other day when an urban management officer took care of his small booth after he had to leave to attend to an emergency.

A recent video that went viral across the nation showed a young vendor in Ruzhou, Henan Province, darting away from his street booth after receiving a phone call. 

Shortly after, an urban management officer passed by the “abandoned” booth as he patrolled the night fair. To everyone's surprise, he sat down and began to do business on the vendor’s behalf. 

He applied protective screens on customers’ cell phones one by one with dexterity you would only expect from a professional. In serving the customers, he reminded each to pay by scanning the vendor’s QR code on the table.

According to a June 27 report by China National Radio, the vendor left hurriedly after receiving a phone call notifying him that his wife was about to give birth. He could only have dreamt his stall would continue to service customers.

When he returned, he found that not a thing in his booth had been lost, and his revenue had actually accrued, thanks to what he called “a kind brother.”

This anecdote, though trivial, exemplifies the presence of trust among ordinary people. 

When the vendor took to his heels, he must have had confidence in the general security of the night fair. This confidence, by reasonable inference, was built not in one day. And when the officer volunteered to “work” on behalf of the vendor, he trusted that his good deeds would not be met with suspicious eyes – either from the vendor afterward or from onlookers.

This trust runs deep in our blood, so deep that sometimes it’s buried or blurred, lost to the uncultivated mind. In the city officer and the vendor, this trust runs deep and well, springing here and now to nourish a communal spirit that helps make society tick.

Another story of trust occurred on June 26, when a cyclist came off his bike, his head hitting a guardrail on a riverside path near Lujiazui area in Shanghai. 

A woman cyclist stopped to give him first aid, while her husband, also a cyclist, dialed for emergency medical help. It turned out that the woman cyclist was a doctor. Thanks to her courage and expertise, the man recovered consciousness and was then taken to a hospital for further treatment.

In coming to the rescue of a stranger, the couple did not hesitate, as probably many of us would. Not everyone would have the courage to offer help to a stranger, even though one is a practicing physician. After all, there’s no guarantee that first aid would work in all cases. Moreover, in some scenarios, a good Samaritan might be wrongly accused by some ungrateful souls.

And yet the woman doctor did not pass by. She must have felt an intangible trust and an invisible call to save a stranger that had haplessly fallen. The sense of trust was so strong that it alone dispersed worries about possible distrust.

Despite reports of good Samaritans being wronged by ungrateful people many years ago, the spirit of doing good for others in need has stayed, thanks to the good souls like the city officer in Ruzhou and the woman doctor in Shanghai.

Certainly, there’s still room for many of us to catch up in striving to live a trusting and trusted life. 

On June 26, a customer was disgusted to find a cockroach in a bowl of soup at a local restaurant in Shanghai. Her husband, a certain Mr Zheng, protested and asked for a reasonable solution. According to a June 27 report by Xinmin Evening News, the restaurant in question could not explain where the cockroach came from. Although it agreed to an investigation by the market watchdog, the restaurant, according to Mr Zheng, had an attitude of detachment, without a word of apology to him or his family.

Without evidence, one could not and should not blame the restaurant. But even if the restaurant proves itself to be blameless in the legal sense after due investigation, a timely apology to the affected customers is necessary because it had done them wrong.

A business survives on trust as well as on legal responsibility. So does a community, a city, a society.

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