Since deciding to write about retirees and how they have reinvented themselves in this next stage of life, I have had the privilege of meeting many wonderful and interesting people. I’ve spoken with artists, with students, with dedicated explorers and a fascinating business woman, but for me the most inspiring and self-sacrificing retirement story I’ve heard comes from a person I’ve never met…and probably never will. I read the story of Qui Shenghua, age 66, in a newspaper while visiting China with my husband recently.
Qui Shenghua worked as a factory cleaner until he retired in 1997. Today he supplements his annual pension of 1700 yuan (283 USD) as a scavenger and is struggling to save 42 yuan to fulfill his commitment in retirement.
While scavenging several years ago Qui found two identification cards in an empty wallet. He decided to return them to their owners because he knows that people feel anxious when they loose their identity cards. Since Qui experienced great pleasure in learning from the owners about how happy they were to have their cards returned, he committed to doing this whenever he finds identity cards while scavenging.
Qui has become somewhat of a expert in discovering areas where pickpockets frequently discard wallets after taking the money from them. In his daily scavenging, he searches those locations for ID cards so he can mail them to their rightful owners. Today he needs the 42 Juan to return his most recent discoveries.
For many of us, 42 yuan or 6.93 US dollars is a trip to Starbucks. For Qui this is a sizable portion of his income, but he persists in doing it because he knows his actions help the people who own the cards–even though he may never hear from them. He does it because his conscience tells him it’s good to do, and he likes to help others.
This may seem like a small thing to some, but the gesture of love and concern Qui shows for other humans is tremendous. I find such thoughtfulness inspiring, and it makes me realize that if I would do just one small gesture of kindness for someone each day, then I too will have a worthwhile and wonderful retirement.
On Another Note:
Saturday, March 8, 2014 is International Women’s Day. I invite you to read my article at After Fifty Living about how we can help women achieve equality, fairness and success in their lives. Your comments and suggestions would be most appreciated.
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