The story of an unlikely friendship in China between a grieving mother and a young man resembling her dead son has struck an emotional chord on mainland social media.
The pair met when the woman, Dou Meijuan, spotted the 24-year-old man, nicknamed Xiaoyu, earlier this month while he was shopping with a friend in Jiangsu province, eastern China, the Yangtze Evening News reported.
Dou said she instantly thought of her son when she saw Xiaoyu due to the strong resemblance between the two men.
After initially hesitating, she introduced herself to Xiaoyu and his friend and explained the resemblance to her son, showing them pictures of him on her phone.
At first, Xiaoyu and his friend did not trust Dou, thinking she might be a con artist.
“But after hearing her talk sincerely and tearfully about her son who died while on duty as a policeman, we were touched,” Xiaoyu said.
“We hugged her to comfort her and told her to take care of herself.”
Dou’s son, Chen Jiahui, was a border inspection police officer. He died in 2020 when he was hit by a truck that had violated traffic rules. Chen was 22 at the time.
Dou said she still finds it hard to accept that Chen, who was her only child, is gone and cleans his room every day — keeping it exactly as it looked when he was alive.
“I have kept all his belongings as if my son was still living with us,” she said.
Dou said seeing Xiaoyu walking in the shopping centre last month was an exciting moment.
“He looks 60% like my son. He is as tall as my son, and they both have pale skin,” she said.
After chatting with Dou over milk tea, Xiaoyu, who lives in Shanghai, agreed to stay in touch and gave her his WeChat contact.
Dou was overjoyed when a few days later Xiaoyu and his friend visited her at home for lunch and brought specialty food from Shanghai as a gift.
“I am delighted that they visited us,” said Dou. “Jiahui’s former colleagues were also here. We sat together and ate hotpot cheerfully. It was almost as if Jiahui had come back.”
Xiaoyu said it was “magical fate” that the pair met and that he is the same age and height as Chen and even has the same shoe size.
“I can tell that Auntie is missing her son very much. She had hoped we would come to visit her for lunch and this made her feel happy,” he said.
Dou said she was touched by the young men’s kindness towards her.
“These two kids are both kind-hearted. They are welcome to hang around,” she said.
After the Dou and Xiaoyu’s story was published, many mainland netizens were moved by their chance meeting and resulting friendship.
One person said on Douyin: “I am a man in my 40s, but I couldn’t help crying when I read this story.”
“This poor woman! Her son died at such a young age. I wish her a peaceful life for the rest of her days,” commented another.
“They look so alike. Thank God for sending this young man to this mother,” said another person. – South China Morning Post