Residents of a neighborhood near Shenzhen in southern China’s Guangdong Province rallied to buy 32 tons of potatoes in one night to help a 60-year-old farmer after he was rejected by a wholesale market for having poor quality products.
The farmer, surnamed Ma, traveled for four days by truck from Qinghai province in northwest China to Shenzhen hoping to sell his potatoes at a higher price, the Shanghaiist reported.
The elderly man had reportedly been duped by a local dealer and after paying 16,000 Yuan ($2,312) in transportation fees and driving 2,500 kilometers (1,553 miles), he did not have a place to store his potatoes.
He told Shenzhen Daily that his family had harvested 40 tons of potatoes back in August and sold 8 tons in Qinghai.
Ma had no other option but to dump his stock on the side of the road near an industrial park in Guanlan, Longhua New Area.
According to the owner of a grocery store near the park, Ma’s potatoes were selling slowly because there weren’t too many neighbors or passersby.
“Some of his friends from Qinghai helped him contact people to buy the potatoes, but it hasn’t helped much as he has so many potatoes,” the store owner explained.
A photo of Ma and his unfortunate situation was posted on WeChat on November 14 and soon drew the attention of locals.
The post went viral across WeChat social media, causing customers to come together to help out and buy potatoes from the man.
A customer who lived near the industrial park went to purchase potatoes after reading the post online saying, “The elderly man looks exhausted [after 10 days of trying to sell the glut of potatoes], so I bought some for me and some for my neighbors.”
Other residents made it to Guanlan to lend Ma a helping hand only to find out that the spuds were all sold out by the following morning.
“It is true that they [the potatoes] were sold out thanks to the lovely Shenzhen residents,” Ma said in excitement.
Ma’s family was worried for several days after finding out that he was stranded in Shenzhen with the potatoes.
“Words can’t express my gratitude to those who came to help me out,” Ma told the Daily. “The journey from Qinghai to Shenzhen was the longest I have ever traveled. I was very impressed. I will go home tomorrow.”