Amazing & Wacky Things, China, Heroes & Heroines

Garbage Collector With A Heart Of Gold!

December 28, 2010
Sanitary worker Li Yukun, 64, sweeps a street in Wendeng city, East China's Shandong province, Dec 22, 2010.

64-year-old sanitary worker and garbage collector Li Yukun has long passed her retirement age of 50 in China but she begged the Wendeng environmental protection department to let her keep her job because she has more than 10 students to support. Since 1998, Li has helped 15 students from poor families.

Sanitary worker Li Yukun, 64, sweeps a street in Wendeng city, East China's Shandong province, Dec 22, 2010.

Kang Yujing, a senior at Qufu Normal University in East Chinas Shandong Province, is one of the 15 students helped by Li. She had been receiving 1,000 yuan from the kind-hearted grandmother yearly over the past four years. But she never imagined her “Rich Uncle Li” would turn out to be a sanitary worker and garbage collector, or even a 64-year-old woman, before meeting her in April.

Sanitary worker Li Yukun, 64, sorts thank you letters from students who received her donations, at her house in Wendeng city, East China's Shandong province, Dec 23, 2010.

After finding out the identity of her “angel” the Year Four undergraduate of Qufu Normal University decided to visit her. When she saw Li sweeping the Wendeng street, Kang ran towards her and held her tightly.

Kang Yujing (L), a senior at Qufu Normal University in East China's Shandong province, burst into tears in Li Yukun's arms after learning it is this 64-year-old grandmother who has been giving her 1,000 yuan each year, at their meeting April 19, 2010.

She burst into tears, as she had never imagined that the money given to her was from such a humble old woman doing such hard work.

“I had always thought that the philanthropist was a rich man called ‘Uncle Li’.”

In her thank-you letters to Li, Kang addressed her as “Uncle Li” before their meeting on April 19.

A thank you letter Kang wrote to Li shows she addressed it to Uncle Li.

Li, whose colleagues call “Iron Feet Li”, has always spent all her money helping the poor and the underprivileged. She leads a very simple life and lives in a crude home with an old donated TV set as the only appliance.

Wendeng’s construction bureau has given Li 50,000 yuan for living expenses, but she has donated all of the money, against the advice of her colleagues.

Li Yukun, 64, sorts her collected garbage at her house in Wendeng city, East China's Shandong province, Dec 23, 2010.

She also decided, after discussing it with her two married daughters, to donate her organs after her death.

Li has also donated 100,000 yuan to victims of the 2008 Wenchuan earthquake and to other charitable causes.

Li counting her money before donating to a victim of the 2008 Wenchuan earthquake at a post office in Wendeng city

Li may be just a poor garbage collector but she has a heart of gold! It is people like her that makes our world a much better place.

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