One-armed builder becomes Internet sensation

A one-armed builder in Shijiazhuang has chalked up nearly 800,000 fans who help him earn most of his income.

A one-armed builder in Shijiazhuang, capital of north China's Hebei Province, has gained nearly 800,000 fans online who regularly watch him as he live streams himself hard at work carrying bricks on construction sites.

Tao Jinjin, 24, lost his right arm in an accident eight years ago, but with the support and encouragement of his family, he gradually recovered from the pain and sadness and began to work at building sites for a living.

Not happy just being a doorman, he tried to do hard manual labor such as carrying bricks and plastering walls in 2011.

Though others didn't believe he could finish such tough work with just one arm, Jinjin overcame his difficulties and soon mastered his technique.

Two years ago, he uploaded several videos of himself at work on a video-streaming platform, which unexpectedly attracted high clicks. Some netizens said the videos encouraged them to improve themselves and spread positive energy as well.

A web user once told him, "A series of setbacks I met recently made me very depressed. But after watching your video, I think I have no reason not to keep going since a one-armed man like you is still working so hard and living life."

Jinjin was happy that he could help others and insisted on sharing more videos with netizens afterwards. Sometimes when he was busy or filming was inconvenient, his mother would help him capture videos.

His parents didn't initially support his new hobby as it seemed to be unsafe and interfere with his work. But when his fan base grew his mother changed her attitude. She told a reporter, "Whether it can make money or not is not important, I hope he can find a girlfriend who truly likes him online. Though working on the construction sites is tiring and arduous, Jinjin feels satisfied."

Now Jinjin earns almost 8,000 yuan (US$1,200) monthly, consisting of 100-yuan daily from the construction site and the money he earns through broadcasting to his fans.

He said he would love to have his own wife and child in the future, so it's impossible to always work as a builder. He aims to further change his destiny through perseverance.

Special Reports