California native Jason Loose was only buying a poor Chinese woman some French fries, but his altruism has managed to spark a a national debate about the moral corruptness of Chinese society.
Loose, a 23-year-old intern at a sports brand company in Nanjing, told the Los Angeles Times that he bought the woman some food because "there wasn't much money in her collection bowl and it was really hot out." A passersby caught the random act of kindness on camera and the story went viral on Chinese microblogging sites. He's now known as the "French Fry Brother," Xinhua News Agency reports.
The photos show Loose chatting with the homeless woman, giving her food, and pouring water into her glass. He told Xinhua he was surprised to be called a hero -- but has been told by friends the images resonated with a growing social apathy in China.
"It was such a heartwarming scene, but brought by a foreign young man,who offers his love, care and trust to a stranger in need," username Hunlizhuchiquhui wrote on China's Twitter-like micro-blogging site, Sina Weibo, according Xinhua. "It makes me reflect on whether I could do what he does."
Loose told the the L.A. Times he only stayed with her for a few minutes -- but before he left, asked an important question should he see her again:
“I asked what's her favorite food to eat?” he said. “Her answer was ‘not French fries.’”
A recent slew of incidents have highlighted the breakdown of social concern in China: In October last year, a two-year-old was repeatedly run over by cars and ignored by passersby on a busy market street.
Check out our slideshow below of other heroes: