November 2, 2022
BEIJING – An 84-year-old man from the small city of Zigong in Sichuan province has become an unlikely social media sensation after his granddaughter quit her job and set out to help him realize some of his wishes on his bucket list, attracting hundreds of millions of views online.
The short videos posted to Douyin — the Chinese version of TikTok — show 25-year-old Wan Minghui, who goes by the name Little Wan on social media, taking her grandfather to visit Beijing in September, a long-cherished wish of him and his wife before she passed away six years ago.
The elderly man was interested in many things on his journey, from the number of tunnels to how spacious the airport was.
He can be seen in the videos leaving their hotel in Beijing at 2 am to attend the national flag-raising ceremony and waiting patiently in a long line. Clutching a photo of his wife, Wan’s grandfather sang the national anthem and wiped away tears.
At some bucket list destinations in Beijing, he was photographed with his wife’s picture, which he brought along to make it feel as though she were traveling with him. Many touched netizens commented that his smile revealed his inner feelings.
The videos under the hashtags “Fulfilling Grandpa’s 100 Wishes “and “Taking Grandpa for Travel “have been viewed more than 100 million times, receiving more than five million likes and a long list of comments, including praise for Little Wan, best wishes for her grandfather and discussions about the meaning of life.
Wan quit her consulting job in May to accompany her grandfather after she noticed his loneliness during an unannounced visit to him one day in May, when saw him sleeping alone on the sofa.
“My grandpa was lonely, which made me sad, and the idea of quitting my job to accompany him came to mind,” she said.
Wan had grown up closely with her grandparents because her parents worked away from their hometown.
Neither her parents nor her grandfather agreed with her decision to quit her job, afraid that it would harm her career development. To make a living after quitting, she got three part-time jobs, including writing advertising online.
Her grandfather finally agreed after Wan told him that she could work from home, and she began to record his life in videos, which she sent to her parents.
After seeing his happy life, her parents began to support her decision and even joined them on their Beijing tour.
Reading letters her grandfather had written to his wife, Wan learned that the couple had many regrets, including some plans they had never carried out. So she began to help him fulfill them — for example, taking him on his first picnic, his first visit to a dinosaur museum, to his first film, first Fathers’ Day and first karaoke experience.
Although Wan has to stay up late to work sometimes, she said it’s all worthwhile when she sees her grandfather smile.
More trips are planned for the pair in the future, including a tour of Chengdu.
“The life of my grandpa, who lived alone before, is changing. He smiles more and more,” she said.
“I didn’t mean to become a social media influencer,” she added. “I gave interviews because I wanted to have a newspaper clipping that told my grandpa’s story…. He accompanied me as I grew up and I will accompany him as he grows old.”