My girlfriend and I decided to go to a Muslim restaurant (Gansu food), this evening for dinner, as I wanted to eat some la mien soup and beef with hot peppers. The restaurant was empty, except for one man, with head shaved, and a kind face eating plain noodles. He said to me in English "hello, how are you", and then spoke with my girlfriend in Chinese. It turns out that he is from Anhui Province, and he had crutches, and is a victim of childhood polio. He spoke with a slow kind of slur, but had the kindest and most reassuring face. He told us his story. He is the youngest of 9 children, his parents are now deceased. He was a beggar for 7 years. One day, a huge rain storm came, and he was stuck in the street, and the local Buddhist temple took him in. He had a vision from the "Buddha of the Sea", a female Buddha incarnation. She told him "to ask for a job at the monestary", and he did. It is where he works now.
The owner of the restaurant came in, and we had a very good conversation about religion, kindness and tolerance. As one of the hallmarks of Islam, giving alms to the poor and being kind to the less fortunate, and this was very much in evidence at this restaurant. The owner told us how this man comes and has breakfast, lunch and dinner here.
I was touched by this story, and the kindness shown across faiths, from these men who have very different religions and cultures, Gansu and Anhui. So, in Shenzhen, I was fortunate to see this and tell this story.