Heroic deliveryman keen to further serve his Wuhan community at provincial legislative meeting in Hubei, Qian Sujuan reports.
Zhang Yu (right), a deliveryman in Wuhan, Hubei province, teaches packing skills to China Daily documentary makers seeking to experience a day in the life of a courier. (PHOTO PROVIDED TO CHINA DAILY)
For many people, working is only a means for survival. But Zhang Yu, a 37-year-old deliveryman in Wuhan, Hubei province, says it's also a chance for him to serve others, which has led him to be seen as something of a hero to those people and also helped him to become a delegate to the Provincial People's Congress in Hubei province.
After serving in the army for a few years, Zhang joined the SF Express Tangjiadun station in Wuhan in 2019. From then on, his routine has been the same: starting work every day at 6 am when the first rays of the sun break, picking up packages, sterilizing them, and distributing deliveries to his clients, before going home late in the evening.
"Though many people think the job is dull and repetitive, Zhang Yu enjoys it and tries to give a hand to others," says Zhang Hanjiang, who works at the same station with Zhang Yu.
Zhang making a call to one of his clients. (PHOTO PROVIDED TO CHINA DAILY)
When Zhang Yu distributes packages, he often carefully records the daily habits of the recipients. For example, he has come to know which clients have babies and need to take a longer afternoon rest, the households with only seniors, and the time that the office workers are available. He considers all of these factors when deciding when to deliver each client's packages. He also helps them out by removing trash for his elderly clients, and taking food to offices of those that work, for example.
As a result, he has won the hearts of many clients. "They always give me a big smile and sometimes even a bottle of water or some fruit when I deliver on a very hot day," Zhang Yu says. "Some have even become my friends outside of work."
But what has thrust Zhang Yu into the spotlight is his heroic acts, which led to him winning the China Youth May Fourth Medal in 2022.
In December 2021, Zhang Yu encountered a fire in a residential building while on his way to collect some deliveries. He saw thick smoke pouring out from a balcony as a crowd gathered outside. The deliveryman squeezed into the crowd and found two adults and a crying child standing helplessly on a third-floor balcony, waiting desperately for rescue.
He rides his electric scooter on his way to deliver packages. (PHOTO PROVIDED TO CHINA DAILY)
Many neighbors watched anxiously on the first floor, but had no way of helping them quickly. Upon realizing the severity of the situation, Zhang Yu called on his military experience to climb up to the second floor, standing on a window ledge as he extended his hand to the balcony on the third floor. From there, he was able to save the family, bringing each member of the family down one by one.
When onlookers cheered for him, Zhang Yu said nothing. He simply rode off on his motorbike, continuing on with his day's work. Although he suffered from a sprained left foot and a swollen thumb due to the climb, the deliveryman simply applied medicine when he got home at 10 pm.
It was only after the video of his good deed went viral on Douyin that people knew it was Zhang Yu. Many people have since called him a hero; but talking about the event in a documentary series, Keeping Up With the New Youth, coproduced by China Daily and the publicity department of the Central Committee of the Communist Youth League, Zhang Yu simply says: "I'm not a hero … I just did what a kind man would do."
In a still from the video, Zhang shares his story with the documentary team, while they eat hot dry noodles together at a stall in Wuhan. (PHOTO PROVIDED TO CHINA DAILY)
His selfless conduct struck a chord with the public and inspired many young people. Chen Xiaoxiao, 16, is one of them. "He is, without doubt, worthy of all the honors he has been given," says Chen, a student from the High School Affiliated to Renmin University of China. "He represents many Chinese people, whose seeming ordinariness cannot stop their beautiful, lovable qualities from shining through. In every corner of the country, workers like him are contributing to their communities, allowing extraordinary tales to blossom out of their ordinary everyday lives."
Although he has won high praise, Zhang Yu has never forgotten his initial aspiration and mission. Now, as a delegate to the Provincial People's Congress in Hubei, he wants to speak for his colleagues and improve their living conditions. Since electric scooters are common in the urban areas of Wuhan and sometimes disturb local traffic, he is now pooling collective wisdom on the issue and making proposals to tackle the problem. His efforts are aimed at protecting the safety of riders, including his direct colleagues who spend most of their time on the roads.
"As a member of the Communist Party of China, I will stick to its motto of serving the people with my whole heart and soul forever, no matter what position I take and what job I do," says Zhang Yu.
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