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Gaga: Rest in Peace (b.2002 - d.2010)

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Unsung Heroes: Death of a Food Delivery Man (1)

Kim Wu-su (The Delivery man).

World's best Food Delivery Service is in South Korea and the credit goes to all these men who are associated with this very difficult yet nobel job. They feed the hungry. No matter where you are - they provide you with piping hot mealS. I have posted about them here.

Today, I salute them all. No wonder they have made every effort to comfort us and I am pretty sure that we are so accustomed to them and their services that we don't even care anymore. In extreme weathers of Korea, meagre salaries and probably hungry themseleves - they bring us food. I once asked a delivery boy to join us because he hadn't had his dinner which he politely declined. Korea is a country where "to give a tip" is strictly forbidden and is considered the same as bribing. This can be explained with just one word in Korean language called "Jeong" (..which can roughly be translated as: a heart to heart relationship+kindness+compassion).

No matter where I went in the world, I've always missed Korean Meal Delivery Service.....

Why this post???

....I read in Joongang Ilbo (newspaper) earlier today that a delivery man was hit by a car in Gangnam and lost his battle of life. On further investigation it was found that he left nobody behind him - to cry for him or even to bury him. What stands out about him was the fact that he was abdondoned at age 7 by his single mother and spent his early childhood in an orphanage. After getting a job as a delivery man - though he lived at the edge of poverty but he donated 30USD to 100 USD each month regularly since 2006 from his very small paycheck for underprevileged children. He had signed up for donation of his organs. He took a life insurence and its beneficiary for a charity that was working for the children. His life which was already full of struggle is a lesson for all of us. I have pasted Joongang Ilbo's original story with their link below though I haven't got any permission from the newspaper (but I'm pretty sure that they won't mind).

In February this year another 24 year old died while delivering pizza due to the "30 minute Guranteed Delivery" - a policy of Domino's Pizza - which in the US which was introduced in 1973 but was later scrapped due to high accidents' rate. However, in South Korea - 30 minutes delivery policy is still in place and is a leading cause of death among the delivery men. According to the Ministry of Employment and Labor (MoEL), in 2010, more than 7000 motorbike accidents have been reported among the delivermen and many of them have been deadly. One important thing to note here is that, we can track big corporations or businesses(such as Domino or MacDonalds) but many smaller restaurants and franchises businesses carry on their mal-practices with much ease and get away with everything. There must be an umbrella organization which should check all bussinesses - big and small - and implement the rule of law. In case, there is no such legislation, unions must come forward and voice concern for this rather small yet vulnerable group of workers. It is a matter of life and death and needs urgent attention.

For public in general, my simple request is: when you make an order, make sure to mention that, please do NOT hurry while delivering the food...I'm pretty sure that this would save lives of many. Moreover, try to avoid filing a compaint with the restaurants or food chains on 10 or 15 minutes late delivery - maybe you will get a 2000 won (2USD)discount coupon but it will risk a life. Moreover, this will help ease the usual cuts in the paychecks of these delivery men which is deducted automatically on a complaint, in case of late delivery.

"Joongang Ilbo's article: Public mourns a life of redemption, selflessness"

Members of the public, including political dignitaries and celebrities, mourned yesterday the death of a deliveryman whose life story of hardship, tragedy and redemption was made all the more inspiring by his habit of donating a part of his meager monthly paycheck to a children’s charity.

About 350 people paid their respects at Kim Wu-su’s mourning alter at Seoul BokJi Hospital in Daerim-dong, western Seoul, including Grand National Party Chairman Hong Joon-pyo and the first lady, Kim Yoon-ok.

The 54-year-old deliveryman, who worked at a Chinese restaurant in Gangnam District, was hit by a car on Sunday at around 8 p.m. He was on his way back to the restaurant on his motorbike after making deliveries and took a U-turn before crashing into an oncoming sedan. Kim was rushed to the hospital but died alone two days later.

Although Kim lived in a tiny room in a gosiwon, or a budget dormitory, and earned just 700,000 won ($595) a month, he donated 50,000 won to 100,000 won every month to ChildFund Korea, an organization that helps underprivileged children worldwide.

Among those paying their respects yesterday was Choi Yeung-han, a television actor and sponsor for ChildFund, who volunteered to be the chief mourner at Kim’s funeral.

“Kim’s virtue will linger in many people’s hearts,” Choi said. “I will put my effort into continuing his will.”

ChildFund said that Kim had taken out a life insurance policy with the organization as the beneficiary, though he stopped making payments in 2009 because he couldn’t afford to do so.

“He lived a lonely, poor life, but he never stopped giving,” Lee Seo-young, an official for ChildFund, said yesterday in a telephone interview. “Because he was a role model donor, we once had him appear on a KBS television program as a guest.”

Kim’s generosity was made even more poignant by the challenges he faced in his own life - one wrought by tragedy and redemption.

Kim was raised by a single mother in Busan until she took him to an orphanage when he was 7, according to ChildFund. Kim escaped from the orphanage when he was 12 and was unable to finish elementary school. He did anything to survive, whether it was begging or doing manual labor.

In 2005, Kim was sentenced to prison for a year and six months for attempted arson, after a quarrel at a bar with the owner. Upset by the fight, Kim tried to set the bar on fire. Six months before his release, he came across a magazine called “Apple Tree” issued by ChildFund, which published stories of children who suffered from domestic violence.

“After he read the magazine, he decided to help underprivileged children,” Lee said. “He was released in 2006 and contacted us directly to start donating. We also heard he had signed up to become an organ donor with another organization.”

To honor Kim’s memory, ChildFund planned to pay for his funeral expenses. But after media outlets reported his death, a local funeral company contacted ChildFund and covered a part of the ceremony.

“After his death was reported, more than 600 people registered with our monthly donation program on just Tuesday and Wednesday,” Lee said. “At least 150 people have also transferred money to our account in donations for children since the media reports.”

“When he was alive, he suffered from a lung illness, but he told us that he wanted to live long so that he could help more children,” Lee said. “By helping and giving to children, he said he felt connected to the world in his lonely life.”

By Kim Hee-jin [heejin@joongang.co.kr]

한글 관련 기사 [중앙일보]

‘철가방 천사’ 김우수씨 영결식 … 후원 받은 16살 민지가 ‘하늘로 보낸 편지’

“진정한 나눔의 삶 보여준 분”
장례식장 시민들 눈물바다
3일간 어린이 후원 800건 늘어

“짜장면 두 그릇, 만두 하나 철가방에 싣고 이 시대 서민들의 배고픔을 달래주려고 눈이 오나 비가 오나 오토바이로 달리던 당신…. 창문도 화장실도 없는 쪽방 같은 고시원에 누워 당신이 후원하는 아이들 사진을 보며 잠들었다는 그런 당신을 떠나보내며 지금 숨쉬고 있는 우리의 모습을 돌아봅니다.”

 29일 오후 1시 서울 영등포구 대림동 서울복지병원 장례식장 5호실. 발 디딜 틈 없이 빈소를 가득 채운 사람들이 추도사를 들으며 흐느꼈다.

 영정사진 속 고(故) 김우수(54)씨는 하얀 헬멧을 쓰고 웃고 있었다. 영정 앞에는 그가 그동안 후원해 온 아이들이 보내온 편지 세 통이 놓였다. 꿈이 경찰이라는 현수(16·가명)는 편지에서 ‘학원에 다니고 싶지만 아버지도 편찮으시고 엄마한테도 미안해 혼자 고민이에요’라고 적었다. 에티오피아 소년 후세인 모사(16)는 감사의 편지와 함께 성적표를 보냈다. 영어 75.5점, 생물 84점….

김씨는 서울 강남 변두리의 한 중국집에서 월 70만원을 받고 배달 일을 해왔다. 어려운 형편 속에서도 어린이재단(회장 이제훈)을 통해 2006년부터 5명의 어린이를 월 2만~3만원씩 후원해 왔다. 재단 앞으로 보험금 4000만원의 종신보험도 들었다. 그런 그가 지난 23일 배달에 나섰다가 교통사고를 당했고 이틀 만에 숨을 거뒀다. 지난해 형편이 크게 어려워진 후에도 할머니와 함께 사는 민지(16·여·가명)에 대한 후원만큼은 끊지 않았던 그였다. 일곱 살 때 버려진 뒤 열두 살 때 고아원을 뛰쳐나와 초등학교도 마치지 못했던 그에겐 기부는 ‘신앙’과 다름없었다. 창문도 없는 고시원 쪽방에서 생활하던 김씨는 후원 아동들이 보내오는 사진과 편지를 삶의 유일한 낙으로 삼았다고 한다.

 김씨의 애틋한 사연이 알려지면서 생전 김씨를 만난 적이 없는 시민들까지 빈소를 찾아 눈물을 떨궜다. 사람들은 그에게 ‘철가방 천사’ ‘짜장면 키다리 아저씨’ 등의 이름을 붙여줬다. 이명박 대통령도 28일 페이스북에 글을 올려 “진정한 나눔의 삶을 실천으로 보여주셨다”고 애도했다.

 아무도 없는 병실에서 홀로 눈을 감았지만, 마지막 떠나는 길만은 외롭지 않았다. 재단 관계자들, 김씨가 일했던 중국집 사장 부부와 동료들, 어린이재단 후원회장인 탤런트 최불암씨 등이 고인의 마지막 가는 길을 함께했다. 재단 이사인 최이우 목사를 따라 사람들이 찬송가를 부르기 시작했다. “저 높은 곳을 향하여 날마다 나아갑니다”라는 구절에서 장례식장은 눈물바다로 변했다. 고인은 경기도 고양시 벽제승화원에서 화장된 뒤 오후 5시 예원추모관에 안치됐다. 키 1m58cm에 몸무게 55kg. 작은 체구의 김씨는 ‘나눔 앞에선 가난도 장애가 되지 않는다’는 위대한 유산을 사람들의 가슴에 남기고 떠난 ‘큰 사람’이었다. 어린이재단은 그의 사망 소식이 전해진 뒤 3일간 “김씨의 뜻을 이어받아 후원하겠다”는 신규 후원 신청이 800여 건 들어왔다고 밝혔다. 가장 최근까지 그의 후원을 받았던 민지는 떠나는 김씨에게 편지 한 통을 썼다.

 “이젠 저도 정말 아저씨를 본받아서 남을 열심히 도우면서 살게요…. 하늘나라에서는 정말 행복하고 재미있게 사셨으면 좋겠어요. 제가 매일 여기에서 기도할게요. 김우수 아저씨! 다음에 또 만나면 정말 감사하다고 말해드리고 싶어요. 사랑해요.”

Original article by Joongand Daily.

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