Feb 28, 2020|

Because of Love: Trivial but Heartwarming Couriers’ Stories from Wuhan


by Ling Cao and Tracy Yang

During this critical period in the fight against COVID-19 in Wuhan, JD’s delivery couriers are going above and beyond the call of duty to be there for customers. The stories of these frontline heroes are trivial but heartwarming, as they do everything they can to help people in Wuhan.

Shengzhi Jia, head courier at the JD Huangpu delivery station in Wuhan, told us some recent stories from him and his team:

Helping nurses from Inner Mongolia

On February 19, I received a phone call from the head of the delivery station in Ulanqab city, Inner Mongolia, who told me that a medical team from Inner Mongolia had been notified at 10:00 pm on Feb 18 that they should immediately leave for Wuhan, and they would be staying in a hotel near our station. Given the last minute notice, the nurses didn’t have time to pack their luggages and bring any clothes. These medical workers were all in an area under quarantine and unable to go out, with no shops open near them. My colleague asked me if I could help them buy some daily necessities such as phone chargers, hot water bottles, bathroom heaters, underwear and more. As the hospital has no bathing facilities, the nurses were in desperate need of underwear and warm clothes.

I went to several supermarkets, but wasn’t able to find the daily necessities they required. So I contacted my colleagues working in nearby warehouses, identified the products the nurses needed, placed the order, and delivered the products to them within the shortest possible time. I will continue to support them over the coming days.


Helping a girl in Shanghai

Around the time when the city of Wuhan was placed under quarantine in late January, I got a call from a girl in Shanghai, who asked me to cancel an order of Chinese rice wine she had ordered that had arrived at our delivery station. It turned out her parents lived in Wuhan and she wanted to buy some alcohol-based disinfectant products for them, but she couldn’t find any medical-use alcohol online, so had bought regular drinking liquor instead. She subsequently learned that liquor was ineffective in terms of disinfection, so she wanted to cancel the order. After I helped her cancel the order, I asked her whether she had been able to find any proper alcohol-based medical sanitizer. She told me it was impossible to buy online, and the pharmacy near her parents’ house had long sold out.

At that time medical alcohol really was incredibly difficult to find – I remember whenever my local pharmacist would send a message in a group chat to tell his customers he had some, people would rush to the store and it would be gone in half an hour. I could tell this girl was really worried about her parents, so I asked my colleagues at the delivery station to keep a look out for alcohol-based sanitizer, and to pick up a bottle if they saw it. Eventually, one of my colleagues was able to buy two bottles of medical alcohol and we delivered it to the girl’s parents.


Helping an elderly with hypertension

On February 16, I got a call from a customer who wanted me to help him buy medicine from an offline pharmacy and send it to his father, who lives in Wuhan and has severe high blood pressure. Buying the medicine online was unreliable, his elderly father was unable to go out, and the son was unable to drive a car to deliver the medicine himself. I looked at his father’s address and saw it was not too far away from our delivery station. I told the customer not to worry I picked up the medicine from the hospital, and delivered it to his father.


Helping a young mother

On another occasion I helped a mother who lives far away from her husband with their 4-year-old daughter and six-month-old son in an apartment building under strict quarantine measures. I helped her find the specific type of milk powder her son needed from another courier’s relatives. The mother was extremely worried, telling me that their milk powder was running out, if they bought it online it would take three days, and it was impossible to go out to buy it. She was so grateful when I delivered the milk powder to her. She wanted to give me extra money as a tip, but I refused. I saw it as part of my duty to help people in need during these difficult times.


Helping to feed cats

I helped a customer who went back to her hometown from Wuhan during Chinese New Year before the outbreak. Initially she asked her relatives in Wuhan to feed her five cats, but after the city was put under quarantine, her cats weren’t fed for 10 days. I live in the same apartment building as the customer, and promised to help her feed her cats.


Applying to be a volunteer

I applied to join Wuhan’s official volunteer team on February 23. The team’s main responsibility is to help the community buy food and medicine. In fact I’ve been working for the community lately and have helped some consumers buy medicine. I am also familiar with the community and consumer needs. Some other people I know who are also heads of delivery stations have also applied for the volunteer job and we are waiting for final confirmation. Wuhan is the city we work and live in and we are devoted to make a contribution to its people.


(ling.cao@jd.com; tracy.yang@jd.com)