Sunday, October 2, 2011

Death of delivery man moves nation

Touching story to highlight the act of kindness and the beauty of sharing to other needy:

SOUTH KOREA - The death of a Chinese food delivery man who regularly donated a portion of his small salary to help the needy is touching the heart of the nation.

People he barely knew have attended his funeral, expressing condolence. They praised him for carrying out the spirit of sharing despite living on a shoestring budget.

Kim Woo-su, 54, died Sunday, two days after his motorcycle collided with a car while on a delivery run.

Though Kim scratched a living as a delivery man of a small Chinese restaurant, he had given part of his salary to children in need through Child Fund Korea since 2006. He had earned 700,000 won ($600) a month from the restaurant in the southern Seoul town of Ilwon.

On top of his years of donations, he left 40 million won ($34,000) in life insurance money to the charity. He had insured himself against traffic accidents because his job put him at risk of them.

Orphaned at 7, Kim once served time for arson. Six months before release, he began to make donations for children who lived a hard life like he did. His decision to give came in jail after he read about children suffering from domestic violence.

Though Kim pledged to be an organ donor, his wish did not come true as hospitals could not find his family, whose consent was needed.

"I live a very happy life by making donation for children," Kim once said in an interview with a local TV network. "I would rather spend less than stopping my support for children. I wish I could live a long and healthy life so that I can support them as long as possible."

News of his death served as a wakeup call to those who regard giving as someone else's job.

"I felt bad when I heard the news. I failed in business several times, but I didn't make a small effort to help others even when I was well off," said Park Hyun-chul, who learned of Kim's story on Twitter.

Though Kim was single and had never married, he was like a father to the children he supported.

Except for a brief period three years ago when he had to cut his donation due to lung surgery, he donated steadily.

One of the children who received money from him is a 16-year-old girl, surnamed Shin, who lives with her grandmother and three sisters.

"I didn't know you have done so much for me. Not knowing how precious your donation was, I would complain and whine about my situation. I will do my best in everything and help others like you," said Shin in a letter to Kim after his death.

President Lee Myung-bak and politicians have also conveyed messages of condolence.

"Kim had shared what he had with others and proved that small good deeds can give hope and courage to others," Lee said on the Blue House Facebook page.

"I express condolences to Kim, who showed the spirit of caring and sharing. Kim reminds me of an old Chinese saying that everyone around me is greater than me," said Ji Sang-wook, lawmaker of the Liberty Forward Party on Twitter.

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