The incident occurred at a supermarket in Penglai, Shandong province on Aug. 30.
Footage released by authorities this week shows the female pensioner, surnamed Zhang, holding the hands of her grandson and granddaughter while stepping onto the escalator.
Zhang is seen walking between her grandchildren — her grandson in front and her granddaughter behind — before apparently losing balance.
The four struggle as they roll down the escalator for almost 30 seconds.
Supermarket staff came to their rescue and pressed the emergency stop button.
Zhang and her grandchildren were left unharmed, but Tao sustained serious injuries.
She cannot move her leg after the incident and was taken to the hospital for surgery.
Despite the cost, the Good Samaritan felt proud of her actions.
“I was just trying to save people,” Tao told China Central Television News. “Although I had to feel pain, as long as the family are safe, I think it was worth it.”