A 7-year-old child will never forget the 5 years of compassion she received from the proprietor of a noodle shop. When she returned after 25 years, she treated him like a parent and protected him for the rest of his life.
Dong Nianhe, 65, used to operate a noodle shop that he had been running for decades. He is not married and does not have any children. He did observe, however, that for the past 5 years, he has been getting funds from an unknown sender in the amount of US $7,855.00 (50,000 yuan) per month. Since he preserved all of the money, he now has more than $100,000.00. Dong Nianhe’s neighbors were envious of him because of this anonymous gift, yet no one knew who provided the money until a woman stepped forward one day.
Dong Nianhe had a noodle shop 25 years ago. Every afternoon, he’d notice a young girl, perhaps 7 years old, standing in front of his restaurant, starving. She would stare at the pot where he was cooking, and Dong Nianhe would give her a knowing look.
He spotted the little girl again one day when there were few customers in his store. He approached her with a bowl of noodles in his hand. “Hungry? Come in and eat while it’s still hot.” “Don’t worry, there’s nothing wrong with this, I’m not a horrible guy,” he remarked when the small girl hesitated at first. “I, I…have no money,” she said, raising her palms in the air. Grandpa once told me that you can’t receive other people’s gifts if you don’t have anything to give back. Even if you accept it, you must swap it for something of equal worth.” As a result, she declined.
He noted that the small girl, whose name he later learned was Yin Canlian, had nothing of value to trade for the noodles. Patches were all over her garments. Dong Nianhe then tossed the bowl of noodles on the ground, reminding her that it was a free meal. She is not required to pay. Despite this, the tiny child refused to eat the free food. Instead, she bolted. Dong Nianhe was intrigued and went about looking for anyone who knew the little girl. It comes out that her parents left for work 5 years ago and never returned. She had lived with her grandfather since then, and they were completely reliant on one another while living in a rundown house. She would do field labor and cook dinner when she got home from school. Usually, dinner consists of a pot of white porridge.
Dong Nianhe’s heart was broken, so he came up with a plan he knew the little girl would love. “As long as you teach me to write a word every day,” he said when he encountered Yin Canlian again, “I could offer you a bowl of noodles.” “Can I write two?” she asked timidly, as she couldn’t believe he had come up with such a fantastic idea. I’d want to trade for two bowls of noodle soup.” Dong Nianhe saw she was about to give her grandfather the other bowl of noodles, so he pleasantly said, “Of course, you can.” When the customers noticed this, they mocked him, saying, “Hey, Boss Dong, let’s order us 10 bowls of noodles first, then we’ll show you how to write a hundred sentences.” Dong Nianhe chose to remain silent rather than retaliate.
Since then, every day for a bowl of noodles, Yin Canlian has come to teach Dong Nianhe some new words, and this trade has lasted for 5 years. Dong Nianhe noticed that girl stopped passing by his restaurant after she graduated from primary school. Her granddad and she have vanished. He discovered that Yin Canlian’s distant relative had taken them in and brought them to the city.
‘Fast forward,’ says the narrator. Dong Nianhe’s modest noodle eatery has grown into a local speciality snack shack, and he has also grown old, reaching the age of 60. His two marriages ended in divorce since he couldn’t bear children since he was a child, and Dong Nianhe never had children. It was difficult for him to grow up without a family. But, since no letter or note was attached, he has been wondering who has been sending him US $7,855.00 (50,000 yuan) per month for the past 5 years. Neighbors have taken notice and are envious of his good wealth, yet they have recommended him to close his noodle store and retire.
Dong Nianhe never explained why he was still working at his noodle store to them. He was still looking across the street for the little girl he sees in the early afternoons. Despite the fact that the establishments in his noodle business have changed throughout the years, she may still be waiting in the same position. “Because I’m waiting for someone,” he grumbled to himself. I’m scared she won’t find her way here if the noodle business is closed.” Every afternoon, Dong Nianhe waited for the little girl with the red schoolbag who stood in front of his restaurant. Even though it’s been a long time, he remembers her like it was yesterday.
The establishments in the neighborhood where the noodle store was located were recently scheduled for demolition. Dong Nianhe had become oblivious to his surroundings while working at this point. “The batter is batter, boss, the batter is batter,” the customers would remind him. He would instinctively scan the area across the street where the little girl stood. When he looked one day, he was taken aback. He dropped the dishes and chopsticks he was carrying. She was right there! Even though she had gotten older, he knew it was her because he recognized the little schoolgirl with the red purse. “Dad, I’m back!” the woman exclaimed as she entered his noodle store, tears in her eyes.
Dong Nianhe dashed over to her, beaming. His daughter has returned to him in his heart. He then learned that she has been visiting his area every month since she began working, discreetly watching him at his noodle store and sending him money every month when she receives her salary. She gladly returned his charity with a bowl of noodles, which she had given him for the past five years. When she was a tiny kid, he was willing to assist her in her most trying period.
Adult Yin Canlian finally has a reason to return now that Dong Nianhe is an elderly man who needs someone to look after him. “Dad!” she exclaimed. For five years, you were gracious to me. When I was starving, you fed me. I’ll now guard you for the rest of your life!”