A 24-year-old firefighter paid gratitude to his grandmother in the most memorable way possible. A photoshoot with his grandma wearing a wedding dress while he wore his traditional firefighter formal uniform. The unusual couple in the photos with a ‘61-year difference’ circulated the internet. Curious netizens raised discussions about the ‘special photos,’ and the young firefighter freely told the touching story behind them…
He revealed that the 85-year-old woman in the wedding dress was his “grandmother,” who turns out to be an elderly woman who has no “blood relation” to him.
24 years ago, an elderly woman, who he refers to as his grandmother, adopted him. The young man in the photos is Zhang Jiagang, a firefighter in the fire brigade of Fenyi County, Xinyu, Jiangxi Province. The elderly woman beside him is Tang Caiying, a retired cleaner at Fenyi County Hospital.
Since 1983, Tang Caiying adopted children who were abandoned near the hospital. She would take the babies home and raise them to be strong and healthy. When they are old enough, she sends them to a charity for formal adoption. When she encountered children with weaker conditions, she would arrange for a formal adoption and raise them as her own.
A group photo of Tang Caiying and the children she raised at home. (Zhang Jiagang is the one on the right wearing a black jacket)
24 years ago, then 61-year-old Tang Caiying took in an abandoned child named Zhang Jiagang. He was kept at home all the time. Zhang Jiagang is one of the 6 adopted children who were raised successfully. Tang Caiying and her husband raised their 5 biological children alongside 6 adopted children while they relied on their pension, plus income from selling vegetables and recycling sources. All the children were raised successfully.
Zhang Jiagang during his childhood days.
Zhang Jiagang knew in his heart that Tang Caiying loves him like her own son. However, since he and his adopted sister Zhang Lin were the same age as the elderly woman’s grandchildren, they decided to call Tang Caiying “Grandma”. Zhang Jiagang said that it was his grandmother who gave him a second chance at life.
Unfortunately, with so many children in the family, expenses for Tang Caiying have become a huge burden. Zhang Jiagang announced to his family that the local fire department was holding a charity event. The school tuition fees of Zhang Lin and Zhang Jiagang were funded by the charity event.
Firefighters from Fenyi County visit Zhang Jiagang (child on the left side) and his sister Zhang Lin (woman in yellow jacket on the right)
The firefighters of Fenyi County also gave school supplies to the siblings and took them to their new school on the first day of classes. They also invited the siblings and their grandma Tang to the station for a happy get-together dinner during the holidays. Zhang Jiagang admits that the reunion turned out to be very lively.
“My brothers tried their best to pick up vegetables for me, which made me feel very welcome!”
The Fenyi Fire Station invited Zhang Jiagang’s siblings and grandmother to have dinner together with the team
Over the past ten years, the firefighters at the station came and gone, and new recruits arrived. However, the support of the fire station for the siblings never receded. The ‘love relay’ continued until Zhang Lin graduated from university in 2013, and Zhang Jiagang graduated from high school in 2016.
Fenyi firefighters visited the elderly Tang Caiying (Zhang Jiagang is the young boy in white on the right)
Zhang Jiagang said that the firefighters who sponsored him and his sister inspired him deeply.
“I saw the teams training very hard, but they were very brave. As soon as the electric bell rings, they go on their way immediately. They are heroes!”
After graduating from high school in 2016, Zhang Jiagang was immediately accepted into a university. Choosing between his studies and joining the army, he chose the latter and finally made his wish come true by being a firefighter. He became colleagues with the people who sponsored him and his sister before.
Zhang Jiagang and his teammates while on the job (Zhang Jiagang is the second from the left)
Every time the bell rang, night or day, he had to be ready and on the go. The job was hard and more strenuous than he thought. However, Zhang Jiagang never regretted a single moment on the job. He said, “This job is meant to serve everyone!” In 2020, Zhang Jiagang lived up to the expectations of being an excellent firefighter and won an award for his outstanding work performance.
Zhang Jiagang revealed that being able to help others gave him a great sense of accomplishment, and choosing the right profession made him repay society with a grateful heart.
“Grandma gave me a second life, and the fireman who helped me gave me a third!”
Zhang Jiagang and his team members at training. He is the team leader.
In addition to doing a great job, Zhang Jiagang paid kindness forward by helping others in return. He funded 2 students who were left alone since their mother died of an illness.
“I will do my best to let children who have suffered misfortune feel the warmth and kindness of this world.”
Taking advantage of the holiday, he wanted to make his grandmother’s wish come true. Since he became a firefighter, he spent less time with her. Now that he was on vacation, he took his grandmother out on a trip. He had planned this trip in silence to surprise his grandma Tang.
Zhang Jiagang traveled to Changsha with his grandmother on a motorbike.
When she was young, Grandma Tang loved to dress up and wore minimal makeup. However, when she started having children, she barely had the time to take care of herself. She never wore a wedding dress when she married. Zhang Jiagang always remembered this and kept it in his heart.
When Zhang Jiagang was on his annual leave in May, he arranged a surprise for his grandma! He planned a wedding photo shoot for his grandma and grandpa as a souvenir, so the elderly couple will always remember the dream and the sacrifices they made for the children and grandchildren they have raised perfectly.
Unfortunately, on the day of the photo shoot, his grandfather is unable to make the trip due to physical reasons. Zhang Jiagang decided to put on his formal firefighter uniform and accompanied his grandmother to the photo shoot. Looking at the finished products, Grandma Tang looked happily at herself in the photos.
Zhang Jiagang and his grandmother practicing their poses for the Wedding photoshoot
Zhang Jiagang admits that he had learned many virtues from his grandmother. Although she has only attained primary school education, she has taught all her children kindness, consideration for others, and gratitude. “Although she is physically small and short, she carries a lot of weight and is very strong inside!”
Zhang Jiagang and Grandma Tang
During holiday reunions, the firefighters at the station would pick up Grandma Tang for a dinner get-together. Zhang Jiagang may be busy and on duty during the Spring Festival, but he is satisfied with his current job. He wishes that his Grandma Tang would always stay healthy so he may spend more time with her on his vacations. He also hopes that he may always be safe on the job during missions so Grandma Tang will never be worried about him.
Images source: It is LOOKER