A Southern California native has been dubbed American French Fry Brother by Chinese Internet mavens, after photos of the student, Jason Loose, buying French fries for a homeless woman in Nanjing, went viral a month ago.
Loose chowed down on some McDonald's fries with the homeless woman, while an onlooker snapped photos of the shared meal and posted them to Sina Weibo, China's equivalent of Twitter. The photos quickly went viral, but Loose doesn't see his act of kindness as a big deal.
I just gave some food that isn't really even healthy to an old woman and talked with her for a few minutes, he told the Los Angeles Times in May. I don't see much that's newsworthy about that.
But the images of Loose sharing his fries have sparked a debate within China, with many online denizens using the French Fry Brother's actions as a comparison to what they characterize as an increasingly heartless Chinese society, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Truly wish this was a fellow countryman, wrote one Weibo user.
Chinese people, let's all learn from this, wrote another.
The Chinese have taken to foreign kindness with vigor, after a 2-year-old girl was hit by two cars in Guangdong province and ignored by passersby. CCTV footage showed the onlookers walking on as the girl, Xiao Yue, lay injured. She'd eventually die.
In the time since, a number of foreigners have become famous in China for their heroics. An Uruguayan woman rescued a Chinese woman from drowning last fall. A Brazilian man was beaten on Saturday while trying to stop a mugging. About 20 people took the time to watch the man get beaten, but none intervened on his behalf.
Loose's actions stand in stark contrast to those incidents, but for him, the exchange was much more casual.
There wasn't much money in her collection bowl, and it was really hot out [...] I walked past her and thought that maybe she could use some food and some company. I asked what's her favorite food to eat? he said. Her answer was 'not French fries.'