Photos showing an American student who shared his French fries with a homeless Chinese woman has gone viral in China. Jason Loose, 23, bought French fries for the woman, shared his water with her and sat down to chat with her on a hot day.
According to LA Weekly, Loose, native of Thousand Oaks, Calif., shared his McDonald's French fries and bottled water with a barefoot homeless woman. Los Angeles Times reports he said they talked about the woman's poor health, her home in rural Anhui province and of course, the weather. Then she told him she was thirsty, and he poured her some water.
Unknown to the young college student, someone photographed him in the midst of his acts of kindness and posted to a Chinese news website. According to The Huffiington Post, Xinhua News Agency reports that the young American was dubbed "American French Fry Brother" by admiring Chinese netizens. His act of compassion sparked a heated debate among Chinese netizens about morality in Chinese society.
The Huffington Post reports Loose is an intern at a sports brand company in Nanjing. LA Weekly reports that a news site gives some background on Loose: "...graduated from Arizona State University, in September last year, came to Nanjing University to participate in the pilot project of the Chinese in Nanjing, a sports brand company internship."
He told Los Angeles Times that he bought the woman fries and shared his water with her because "there wasn't much money in her collection bowl and it was really hot out." He said because it was a hot day and the woman's collection bowl seemed empty, he thought to himself "maybe she could use some food and some company."
According to The Huffington Post, the photos show Loose chatting with the homeless woman, giving her food and pouring water into her glass. Loose told Xinhua he was surprised to be called a hero. He told Los Angeles Times, "I just gave some food that isn't really even healthy to an old woman and talked with her for a few minutes. I don't see much that's newsworthy about that."
But no matter what Loose thinks of his action, the photos have touched the hearts of millions of Chinese and sparked "a movement to show more compassion toward those less fortunate." LA Weekly reports the photo has been shared "hundreds of thousands of times" on China's microblogging site, Sina Weibo.
Unfortunately, it turned out that French fries were not the Chinese woman's favorite food. Los Angeles Times reports Loose said that before he left the woman, "I asked what's her favorite food to eat? Her answer was ‘not French fries.'"
Jason Loose's compassionate act sparked a national debate on moral corruption in modern Chinese society. Many Chinese netizens expressed concern about social apathy and brought back to memory the images of a two-year-old run over by cars but ignored by a passerby on a major street in a Chinese city. According to Los Angeles Times, many Chinese netizens believe that "their country’s blind pursuit of wealth has created a moral vacuum, causing feelings of indifference toward the suffering of strangers."
According to Daily Mail, Xinhua News Agency reports that a blogger on China's microblogging site, Sina Weibo, wrote: "It was such a heartwarming scene, but brought by a foreign young man, who offers his love, care and trust to a stranger in need." The writer then challenged himself and other Chinese with the question whether they could do what Loose did.
According to LA Weekly, Loose hosted an online Q&A session a few days ago during which users of Weibo had the opportunity to ask him questions about his good deed. His answers, according to LA Weekly, were simple: "She looked so sad and lonely, so why wouldn't he help, if he had time to spare?"
A sample of the questions admiring Chinese asked, according to LA Weekly, goes:
"If China is to have many people willing to help like you, how does the general mentality need to change?"
"How do we find a solution to people being too scared to help others?"
"Would you do the same thing in the United States?"
Loose tries to answer the questions as best as he can, though he gets clumsy at times.
And Loose isn't wasting time. He is already milking his sudden celebrity status to further a cause. According to LA Weekly, he is leading an expedition to pick up trash on Purple Mountain this Saturday. Loose has acquired sizable followership. He opened a Weibo account and only after 17 posts, he has over 9,000 followers.