A young American man has risen to fame in China's cyberspace after two photos showing him sharing French fries and a drink with a beggar in Nanjing, Jiangsu Province went viral.
Jason Loose, 23, who goes by the Chinese name Lu Jiesen, told the Nanjing-based newspaper Modern Express that he never imagined his act of kindness would bring him so much public attention.
Since Saturday evening, the photos were reposted on Weibo tens of thousands of times. The original poster wrote that the photos were taken "outside a McDonald's restaurant. A foreigner bought two bags of fries and gave one to the beggar woman sitting by the street. They just sat on the ground talking and eating together."
A person surnamed Li, with the Institute for International Students at Nanjing University, recognized Loose, who is from Los Angeles, as a student at the university.
Loose said he was walking on Guangzhou Road on Saturday when he saw the woman outside the restaurant. He felt pity for the woman and bought her the fries.
A staff member at the McDonald's surnamed Hu was quoted by the newspaper as saying that Loose paid for his order, went outside and sat with the woman for about 20 minutes.
Loose said the woman told him she was in her 80s, was from neighboring Anhui Province and had been living in Nanjing for more than a year.
"It wasn't anything special. I used to be a plumber and worked in very dirty places, so I did not mind getting my clothes dirty sitting on the ground with her."
The photos of a foreigner helping an older woman should make Chinese examine their own behavior, said Li Yonggang, a professor who teaches Internet phenomenon at Nanjing University.
"Pictures showing a foreigner helping a Chinese might help raise public awareness about doing good deeds," Li told the Global Times.