Companionship is the best kind of filial piety. Being there for our parents when they need us the most is the best form of respect. It is our sacred duty as their children to repay the kindness they have shared with us. After all, it is not easy raising children. Through perseverance and love, they made it through.
In 1997, a man who was over 50 years old adopted an abandoned baby in the fields. He took her in and raised her, even if he was just living with vegetables and farm organics. 24 years later, she has become very successful in becoming an entrepreneur and an influencer. However, she repaid her father’s kindness by selling her properties and traveling the world with her adoptive father in a motor home.
It was early spring of March 11, 1997. Zhang Shuangqi was on his way home when a crowd gathered at the entrance of the village where he lived. Intrigued, he pushed his way through the crowd to check out what the commotion was about. In the haystack in the middle of the crowd was a ripped box with a baby girl wrapped in cotton. It was early evening and the temperature was less than 10 degrees. He noticed that the face of the baby girl was flushed from the cold but none of the villagers stepped forward to help the child.
Zhang Shuangqi sighed at the impassive faces of the villagers, picked up the poor baby, and cuddled her. Surprisingly, the baby stopped crying in his arms when he leaned her head on his chest. In a few minutes, the baby’s cheeks turned rosy red from the warmth of his embrace against the cold weather. The villagers dispersed, and Zhang Shuangqi headed home, not willing to wait for the baby’s parents in the cold night air.
When the baby is hungry, Zhang Shuangqi worries since she cries looking for milk. He was able to buy powdered milk from a family in the neighboring village. Since he does not have any experience yet on how to raise a baby, he asked them for help to feed her. When Zhang Shuangqi finally put the baby to sleep, he settled to rest reclining on a chair beside the bed. He was afraid that he may crush the baby if he sleeps beside her.
Very early the next day, Zhang Shuangqi went to the village committee and told them about the baby girl that he found inside a ripped box on the haystack. He explained to them how he temporarily gave her shelter for the night and requested them to inquire about the child’s parents and their whereabouts. Several days passed, and despite the constant broadcast on the village radio, no one came to claim the baby girl.
A few days later, Zhang Shuangqi realized that the baby has been completely abandoned. Couples who are married or otherwise choose to abandon their unwanted babies, and incidents of such happen from time to time not only in Zhang Shuangqi’s village but in other places, too.
Looking at the innocent child in his arms, Zhang Shuangqi sighed and said, “Your parents don’t want you anymore. What will become of you in the future, little one?” He did not expect the baby to be listening to him with a smile on her face. It captured Zhang Shuangqi’s heart that he decided to raise the little girl like his own, although he was already 54 years old. At his age, Zhang Shuangqi has never been married nor had any children. So, he considered the baby as a gift from God.
Zhang Shuangqi worried that the parents may come looking for the baby, so he took initiative to find any information that may lead to the baby’s biological parents. He rummaged through the ripped cardboard box, but there was no information or clues inside it. In addition, there was no news from the village committee either, so Zhang Shuangqi thought it was time to give up waiting for her parents. He decided to adopt her.
He had no experience in raising a baby that was only a few months old. He had no family to help him, either. Zhang Shuangqi suddenly felt confused. In the beginning, Zhang Shuangqi always hustled in his movements between preparing milk formula, changing diapers, and coaxing the crying child. Neighbors who pass-by offered help to Zhang Shuangqi. Soon, the middle-aged father was overwhelmed by the difficulties of raising a child. Although he felt it was hard work, he enjoyed every minute he spent with the little girl. She was definitely the center of his life.
After receiving some pointers from elderly ladies, Zhang Shuangqi gradually learned how to prepare the baby’s milk formula, how to change her diapers, and how to pacify her when she is fussy. After some time, he decided to give a name to the baby girl. He thought of some suitable names, such as Caihua and Baiju, but was not satisfied.
One spring afternoon, Zhang Shuangqi and the baby were relaxing outside the house when a white pigeon flew to them from a field, prompting the child to point at the flying bird. He heard the child make a non-stop soft humming sound. Feeling that the child had a slight connection with the bird, he named the child Zhang Baige.
When Zhang Baige grew up, expenses were getting high, and Zhang Shuangqi started to feel the stress of raising a child. In the past, when he was still living alone, the money he earned from working in a factory was more than enough to support himself, and he could occasionally eat in a restaurant. Now that he has a child, milk, clothing, and even the tuition and book fees for later schooling are all starting to be a financial burden.
After work every day, Zhang Shuangqi would go to the town to collect items for recycling in exchange for money. It was hard work for a man his age, but he persevered and never gave up. Whenever he comes home to see the child smiling at him, all his exhaustion and stress disappears. As long as the child is happy, he is the happiest.
A few years passed, and Zhang Baige reached the school age. Although Zhang Shuangqi has not finished his education, he has instilled the importance of good education in his daughter. At home, he never let Zhang Baige do any housework. He wanted her to focus and concentrate on her studies in peace. Zhang Baige, in return, lived up to her father’s expectations. She studied hard and achieved excellent grades. Later, she was successfully admitted to the best middle school in the county, which made her father very happy and proud.
As Zhang Baige advanced to higher grade levels, she has seen the huge differences between family levels in her school, which began to make her feel inferior. One afternoon, when classes were dismissed, Zhang Baige and her classmates happily walked out of the school gate. She saw her father picking up bottles that the other parents threw on the ground. A feeling of shame and inferiority rushed to Zhang Baige’s heart. She could not understand why the parents of her classmates dress elegantly but her own father dressed in rags. Feeling ashamed that her classmates would notice, she hid in the crowd to avoid her father’s gaze and ran back home pretending not to see her father. Zhang Shuangqi noticed this and stopped calling her name. He felt a pang of pain from being embarrassed by his daughter.
When Zhang Shuangqi arrived home, he saw his daughter doing her homework quietly in her room. Seeing that his daughter did not acknowledge his presence at all, he decided to keep quiet. The two were silent all night. It was only the day after that Zhang Shuangqi no longer went to town after he got out of work. He chose to pick up things for recycling at night and returned the next day.
Whenever Zhang Baige was in school, she felt that she never had enough to eat to be satisfied, and the snacks that her classmates took out of their bags during lunch break made her extremely envious. Every time she heard stories about how delicious the food their parents made for supper, Zhang Baige would only be quiet with envy. When she arrives home from school, her father only prepares a plate of pickled toon sprouts for supper every day. It turns out that the money Zhang Shuangqi has earned is only enough for Zhang Baige’s meals and tuition fees. He did not have an extra budget to buy vegetables at the market. He could only pick a lot of toon leaves in early spring.
One day, Zhang Baige watched her father serve another plate of dark green pickled toon sprouts on the table. The teenager, who had eaten pickled toon for a month, could no longer hold back her frustration, overturned the table, and ran out of the house. Looking at the food on the ground and the overturned table, Zhang Shuangqi felt sorry for his daughter and felt very helpless. He knew the frustration his daughter was feeling.
Zhang Baige came back early the next day. She has spent several hours of the night outside, calming down. She realized that her father had worked very hard to raise her without any complaints. So what ‘right’ did she have to complain, too?
Coming to terms with her father’s way of raising her, a regretful Zhang Baige hugged Zhang Shuangqi and apologized to him repeatedly. Without remorse, the father cried tears of joy, his words full of tenderness for his daughter, and lovingly stroked her head. When the conflict was resolved, Zhang Baige never lost her temper with her father again, and she would do her best to help her father in any way she could.
When Zhang Baige reached high school, the family’s financial burden was growing. At Zhang Shuangqi’s advancing age, hard work has become unbearable. Zhang Baige knew of her father’s condition and realized it would be adding to the burden if she enrolls in college. So Zhang Baige decided to apply for work after graduating from high school to support her father in return.
When he learned that his daughter was deciding to quit school and apply for a job, Zhang Shuangqi immediately refused. He promised to do anything to let her finish school. However, Zhang Baige insisted and said that if he does not agree with her, she would run away from home. Reluctantly, Zhang Shuangqi had to agree. Hugging his daughter, he cried, partly because of his own incompetence and because of his daughter’s filial piety.
When Zhang Baige first entered the ‘real’ world, her first job was as a waitress in a restaurant, with a salary of US$448.00 (about 3,000 yuan). Although it was not much, Zhang Baige saved her monthly salary because she wanted to buy a gift for her father.
“From my childhood until I grew up, my father worked extremely hard every day, but when he came back, he slept in a small broken bed.” Zhang Baige said, witnessing her father’s perseverance in raising her. The first gift Zhang Baige planned to buy for her father was a new comfortable bed. When it arrived, Zhang Shuangqi happily sat on the bed, saying that he has raised a good daughter. Happily cuddling his daughter, he listened as Zhang Baige said: “I will make more money in the future, buy you a big mansion, and let you live a better life.”
Zhang Baige worked multiple jobs to earn more money. She worked as a crew in a food stall and as a shopping guide in a clothing store. She wanted to work harder. As long as she can make money, she will do it. However, just when Zhang Baige thought that life was getting better, an illness brought the family back to a low point.
It may be her poor eating habits while growing up or stress from her job when she first applied for work, it was unknown, but Zhang Baige became seriously ill. To get a diagnosis, Zhang Shuangqi borrowed money from relatives and friends and took his daughter to good doctors.
Zhang Baige was still young, and fortunately, her illness was not very serious. Even so, they could not afford hospitalization, so they just had to take the necessary treatments and make Zhang Baige recuperate at home. Every day, Zhang Shuangqi stayed with his daughter at home while she rested and did his best to take care of her, whether it was serving tea or pouring water or doing laundry and cooking. He gave her whatever she requested.
Seeing her father tend to her at his advanced age, Zhang Baige felt regret. She kept blaming herself for why she was so negligent of her health. She felt that she was the biggest burden between the two of them. But Zhang Shuangqi’s words soothe her heart.
Zhang Shuangqi also noticed that his daughter was depressed as she was ill. One evening after dinner, he said to his daughter, “Don’t be discouraged when you encounter setbacks, everything will be fine. No matter what, Dad will always be your strongest support.” Upon hearing her father’s soothing words, Zhang Baige immediately burst into tears. Her father has worked so hard raising her all these years but never said a word to complain. If Zhang Baige only cared about self-pity, how can she be worthy enough of her father’s kindness?
After recuperating and recovering from her illness, Zhang Baige returned to work with her father’s support. This time, she was determined to take care of her health and build her own world to repay her father’s perseverance.
A few more years passed, and Zhang Baige aimed at the fast-rising e-commerce market at that time. Her extensive work experience has accumulated from various jobs she has taken, and coupled with hard work, Zhang Baige’s career quickly improved. In her first year, Zhang Baige purchased a car for hauling goods. Zhang Shuangqi was on board and extended a helping hand to his daughter. Although it was hard work, they were extremely happy, encouraging each other often.
The first thing Zhang Baige did when she earned quite a large sum of money was she had the house renovated. Zhang Shuangqi, who had lived in a dilapidated house all his life, finally lived in a newly-renovated home. Fortunately, the life of the father and daughter duo began to gradually get back on track.
Zhang Baige’s career gradually boomed, transforming from a small shop to a store, from a single business to a team with dozens of people. After a few years of hard work and perseverance, Zhang Baige has already earned hundreds of millions. Although his daughter’s business is booming, Zhang Shuangqi still wanted to earn his own money. He still has the habit of picking up rubbish for recycling and selling them. At his advanced age, he did not want to be a burden to his daughter but help in any way he can.
Zhang Baige no longer feels ashamed of her father as she did when she was a child. She has discovered a deep love for herself to understand her father’s behavior. She has always tried to persuade her father to take a rest at home, although she knows that his father will not obey.
Zhang Baige and Zhang Shuangqi are always working together side by side. Now that they can afford it, they travel often and are very happy. Lately, Zhang Baige sensed that there was a trace of melancholy on her father’s face. The usual happiness is gone. After some time, Zhang Baige could no longer hold back and finally asked her father about the concern. His response was unexpected.
Zhang Shuangqi was worried that someday Zhang Baige would try to find her biological parents. Zhang Baige had always been mum about the matter, though it worried her father that she never asked for fear of hurting him.
Zhang Baige began to cry and hugged Zhang Shuangqi. She said, “You are my only father, the best father in the world.” Zhang Shuangqi felt relieved when he heard his caring daughter’s words.
Years passed, and Zhang Baige suddenly realized that Zhang Shuangqi was already 70 years old, and his health was not as good as before. She understood that her father may not be able to enjoy much, and she was the center of her father’s life. Zhang Baige feels that her career can be put on hold because if she misses this chance to enjoy with her father, it may be lost forever. Feeling determined, she decided to take her father on a trip around the country.
In 2021, Zhang Baige pushed through with what she planned. She contacted several business partners who were also e-commerce companies, sold her shares to them, and bought an RV. She fulfilled her promise of traveling around the country with her father. Within a year, they visited places they wanted. They went to the sacred snow-capped mountains in Sichuan and Tibet, walked together on the coast of Xiamen, and felt the warm sea breeze.
The bond between the duo became viral on the internet. Although some netizens question whether Zhang Baige did this to intensely promote herself and her business, other people expressed their wishes for the happiness of the duo.
Zhang Baige never cared about what bashers thought of her. For her, as long as they are happy together, it would be the best answer to all questions. Zhang Shuangqi mentioned that his daughter Zhang Baige is God’s greatest gift to him. For Zhang Baige, Zhang Shuangqi’s perseverance to raise her as his own is the best miracle that happened to her.