Mother forgives hit-and-run driver who paralyzed her son


(The couple take little Mengshi out for a walk everyday)

(From Jinghua Times) In the afternoon of Oct 2nd 2008, 4-year-old boy Mengshi got hit by an agricultural truck while playing at roadside. Driver sent the boy to the hospital and disappeared after leaving 3000 yuan behind. Little Mengshi woke up from coma 3 months later only to find that he has to stay in bed ever after due to severe brain damage. He can’t walk nor talk and his bright eyes can see nothing more than darkness. What’s worse, he is  constantly subject to the torment of secondary epilepsy.

Recently the driver was arrested after 3 years of hiding, but the mother chose forgiveness, saying: “what good can come of hating him, he didn’t do it on purpose, he must have blamed himself too.”

Just the day before yesterday, little Mengshi’s eyes turned up, lips moved and body in spasm – he was suffering from the epilepsy from the accident. Gao Suhua immediately held him tight and gently comforted him while whispered in his ears “once upon a time, there is a big grey wolf, it is going home at sunset”, then she laughed for it was the first story his son told her. At that time, little Mengshi was lively and playful, he could sing and write from 1 to 10. “He wrote ‘3’ like a ‘m’, so funny” Gao Suhua recalled the good old time as if she is picturing the future.

Before the accident, Gao earned a living by part time jobs, her husband was a backup worker for a construction company who couldn’t really do heavy work due to work related injury. Her family was a typical low-income one in Beijing with less than 3000 yuan in bank. She clearly remembered that she blacked out 3 years ago when told about her son’s accident. She ran to the hospital only to be told by the doctor “better have another child instead”. She wandered on the street aimlessly, crying under the bridge, “I walked at a crossing regardless of the vehicles rushing by, tears kept streaming down my face.”

With the driver no where to find,the medical cost for her boy’s surgery and recovery treatment was like a bottomless hole. Gao was so desperate as she recalled – “I will kill him if I see him at that time, I will run up to bite him.”

But Gao didn’t want to give up on her son. By the end of 2008, Gao thought of selling her organs to cover the costs. She wrote a letter that read “I am healthy. Now I am putting my bone marrow. kidney, eyes and any other transplantable organs on sale… If you really need the things I am offering, I hope you understand that we want the same thing – the health of our dear ones.” She gave the letter to her neighbor, who could not possibly do anything about it since selling organ is illegal.

Gao then turned to local police departments, who visited little Mengshi several times and sent over money, rice and noodles and other daily necessities in addition to raising fund for them. Since then, the hospital has become home for the Gao and her husband – “We didn’t spent more than 2 months at our home in Daxin, we only went back for clothes and stuffs.”

With the help of the police, she filed civil claim against the driver. And the court ruled that the driver and the car insurance company compensate little Mengshi 500,000 and  120,000 yuan respectively. Since the driver was hiding, Gao only got the 12o,000 compensation from the insurance company, plus pension and donation they finally made it through the difficult time.

Up until recently the driver Zhang was arrested in Wenzhou, Zhejiang Province. He confessed to the police that he felt very guilty, he has switched several cities to hide and lost nearly 15 kilo during the past 3 years – “I couldn’t sleep at nights, whenever I saw my kid I thought of that little boy and the scene he got hit, wondering how he was doing.”


(The mother is putting shoes on little Mengshi for walking practice)

At the news of Zhang’s arrest, Gao said calmly after a brief silence: “I don’t hate him anymore. I only wish one thing and it is for my boy to walk again, so that he can take care of himself when we die.” She also said that she wouldn’t worry about her boy’s intelligence since her words were understood by her son. They made a pact – wink means happy and approval. Gao can be overjoyed all day long for just a wink from little Mengshi’s twinkling dark eyes.

Interview between Gao and reporter:

Reporter: You didn’t want to be interviewed at the beginning, why?

Gao: Because I am afraid I said too much that may add to his sentence.

Reporter: He hit your son, don’t you hate him?

Gao: What good can come of it? I hated him before, but not anymore. He couldn’t have done it on purpose, he must have blamed himself too. What he did was not so evil as rape or murder, otherwise I will never forgive him.

Reporter: But he ran away.

Gao: Every one will freak out at such accident. He must be unable to afford the responsibility, I can understand that. His family were from rural Anhui Province and even poorer than us. I saw photos of his home taken by the police, there was nothing valuable whatsoever.”

Reporter: So you have forgiven him?

Gao: I have been through a lot these years – disease, hatred, pain and poverty – after so much, what couldn’t we figure out? Moreover, we were helped by many people without whom we three people wouldn’t be here. Sometimes, we just have to learn to forget, I won’t think about the past anymore. I won’t give him a hard time as I heard that he also has a son, younger than mine. It is not easy for both of us, I hope everyone can live well. For his case on court, if his family contact me for black and white forgiveness letter, I will talk to my husband, who is very kind-hearted and won’t give him a hard time either.

Reporter: Are you glad to hear about his arrest?

Gao: I have received couple of calls inquiring about his arrest. I can’t say that I am glad, how to say, it is like just a story of a stranger.

  1. Truly an inspiring story about forgiveness. Thank you so much for posting this story about this beautiful family. So heartwarming also to hear about the police stations and other strangers helping this family. We need to hear more stories about this from China so foreigners will know that “we may look different, but the heart is the same.” (Quote from Lily Chin, mother of Vincent Chin)

  2. For me this is more a sad story about the utter lack of social security in China. Sounds like she got financial help eventually, but a mother whose son has been paralysed should not be thinking about selling her freaking organs to keep him alive. As for the forgiveness… that’s tricky. On the one hand it is admirable, but on the other you could argue it’s a sign that running away from accidents is so normal in China that even the victims understand it. Such behaviour should cause outrage.

    1. “Such Behavior should cause outrage”

      @stu> Just a small thought… i think this outrage you speak of occurs alot in developed areas where people (may not be the case for all developed places) only thinks of themselves and only benefits themselves. I believe what this article was meant to state that its not normal running away from accidents, but b/c of what the people (esp. this family has gone thru)…she is more opened minded. Very few people are like that… I truly admire her (mother) attitude towards this. Takes alot.. i admit myself that i would be in rage and rather the drive die in hell…but much respects to the family.

      WIsh them well

    2. The problem isn’t social security – the problem is the majority of people don’t make much money in the first place. China, despite claiming to be socialist, has a terrible welfare policy. What’s worse is it has the socialist elements of state owning all property, allowing the gov’t to take away land and demolish the homes of the poor and compensate them with peanuts.

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