A Happy Ending for a Runaway Boy
(Minghui.org) A 12-year-old boy's parents divorced when he was little. His father, who had custody of the child, later became a drug addict and often beat him. The young boy couldn't endure the abuse and ran away one winter day.
He showed up at the door of a local woman, who offered to let him stay with her and her family while she worked hard to locate the child's family. It took her a while because the boy lied about his family situation at first.
After more than ten days, she was finally able to locate the boy's maternal grandparents and paternal grandfather. When they thanked her for everything she'd done for the boy, she told them that it was her faith that inspired her to help him.
This good Samaritan is a practitioner of Falun Dafa, a spiritual discipline based on the principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance.
Falun Dafa has been persecuted by the Chinese communist regime since July 1999. This practitioner wants to share her experience with the young boy as a way to debunk the lies perpetuated by the Chinese regime's propaganda against Falun Dafa.
Below is the story as recounted by the practitioner.
[Editor's note: Readers are advised to keep in mind that China's legal system regarding child custody, child abuse, and runaway children is not as developed as that in Western countries.]
Someone knocked on my door while my son was practicing the piano on the morning of January 13, 2018. I answered the door and saw a young boy in thin clothing standing at the door. I could not believe that any mother would willingly allow her child out in such terrible weather with so few clothes on.
This boy said that he'd come to my house once last year. I quickly let him in. His name is Xiaoman, and he lives in a bungalow behind our neighborhood. He is 12 years old, the same age as my son, but his small, gaunt frame made him appear a lot younger.
A Neglected Child
Xiaoman played with my son the whole morning after my son finished his piano practice. I asked him to let his family know that he would have lunch with us. He said that he didn't remember his parents' phone numbers.
I worried that Xiaoman had been away from home for too long and asked him to go home in the afternoon. He insisted that his family was used to him staying out for long hours. I forced him to go home when it was getting dark, but he returned after a little while, saying that his mother had allowed him to play for another half hour.
Xiaoman was still at my house after 6 p.m. I said to him sternly, “Xiaoman, it is already dark and you must go home now.” He left reluctantly and returned again after a little while. He said that his house was locked. I had no choice but to let him stay for dinner.
Around 9 p.m., Xiaoman still stuck around and no one from his family came to collect him. My older son and I decided to take him home.
When we got to his neighborhood, Xiaoman became reticent. He finally said that his father worked in another city and that he just had moved into the house with his mother and grandfather three months ago and could not recognize his house at night.
I had to take him back to my home because I could not leave a child out there alone in the dark.
We sent Xiaoman home the following morning. He came back, saying that the door was locked. I then asked him to go home alone after lunch, but he came back once again.
He said, “The door was still locked. The owner of a nearby mahjong house called my grandfather for me. My grandfather wants me to stay with you. He will come to take me home after he takes care of my great-grandfather, who is in the hospital.”
I tried to contact the mahjong house owner a few times afterward, but no one was ever there.
My husband felt that Xiaoman was a neglected child. We thus let him stay at our house until he could get picked up. During his stay, we took him with us everywhere we went.
“Falun Dafa Is So Good!”
I already had enough to take care of with my own two children, who are three years apart. Adding Xiaoman did interfere with my daily routine quite a bit.
When the children fought over things, I reminded them to follow Dafa's principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance to deal with conflicts.
On one occasion, I let Xiaoman put on my son's clothes after a warm bath. He said to me, “Auntie, you are so kind. I really envy your sons. It would be wonderful if you were my mom! At home, I have to cook and wash my clothes myself.”
I felt sad for him. I wondered how a mother could feel safe letting her son stay with a stranger for so long.
There was a big snowstorm a few days later. The children went out to build snowmen and throw snowballs. Xiaoman caught a cold and started coughing that night.
My son told him, “You will be fine if you recite 'Falun Dafa is good' and 'Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance is good'. That's what we do when we don't feel well.”
Xiaoman recited those wonderful words nonstop. He also started to do the exercises with us the following day. His cough vanished after two days. He said excitedly, “Falun Dafa is so good!”
Meeting His Grandparents
My mother suggested that I hand Xiaoman over to the local police station, but I disagreed. I felt that we were probably predestined to meet. Otherwise, he would not have come to my house. Besides, school would start soon anyway, and his family would have to come to pick him up for school.
Twelve days went by and Xiaoman's family never came. I started to worry. When a fellow practitioner visited me, I told her the story and we decided to locate his family together. But he did not want to go with us.
We learned from other kids on the block that Xiaoman's parents were divorced and that his father did not work in the other city. We said to him, “You must tell us the truth and we will help you.”
The child finally told us the story. His parents divorced when he was little, and his father got custody. His father then became a drug addict and often physically abused him. He then showed us his scars and begged us in tears not to send him home.
We felt bad for him. Although I really wanted to help this poor child, I was afraid that his addict father might make trouble for us. I did not know what to do.
The other practitioner said, “If we send this child back to his father, his future will be ruined. Let's find his other relatives and persuade them to send him to a boarding school. We will pay for part of the expenses if necessary.”
It was a good idea. To Xiaoman, anything was better than going back home with his father. He then told us the address of his maternal grandmother.
When we met Xiaoman's grandmother, she refused to take the child and told us to return him to his father. The child grasped the hand of the other practitioner and begged, “Please don't send me home. I'll be beaten again.”
We tried to persuade Xiaoman's grandmother to send him to a boarding school; after a while, she relented and called her husband home so that they could both come to a decision. His grandfather thanked us and said that they would talk about what to do. We relaxed and left the child with the old couple.
However, we worried on the way back that the family might not want to spend the money for his boarding school. We turned back and told them that we would help pay a portion of the school expenses.
The desperate look in Xiaoman's eyes really made us very sad when we left the second time. The fellow practitioner said, “On our way over here, we promised Xiaoman that we wouldn't leave him with his family. What we did could hurt him so deeply that he might not trust anyone ever again. It is better that we keep him with us even though we'll have to come back tomorrow.”
We turned back to take the child. His grandfather was moved. He said, “I can see that you are truly doing this for the wellbeing of this child.”
Going to Boarding School
Xiaoman's grandfather made the arrangements, and we finally met with his father and paternal grandfather at noon the next day. On the way, the child kept reciting those nine sacred words.
“Auntie, I have recited them nonstop. Will Master Li help me?” he asked.
We smiled at him and said, “You are so sincere. Things will surely go well.”
In the end, the extended family agreed to send Xiaoman to the boarding school. The boy was really happy!
His grandfather said to us, “You have knocked on our door twice for the sake of this child and offered money for his schooling. We feel very ashamed. Nowadays, good people like you are few and far between. We will never forget you.”
Xiaoman's family thanked us sincerely. I told them, “You can thank my master. He taught us to be good people and to be considerate of others. We just did what a practitioner should do.”
Indeed, we would not have done that much if we were not Dafa practitioners. I sincerely feel fortunate for being able to cultivate in Falun Dafa.
Many thanks to Master and Dafa!