Teen with disability gains confidence from experience as popcorn vendor

chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2023-11-22 06:30
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Tao Tao packages the popcorn for sale on the street in Xiaoshan district, Hangzhou, Zhejiang province. [Photo/CCTV News]

A 17-year-old boy nicknamed Tao Tao with cerebral palsy has made positive attempts to achieve greater self-reliance through selling self-made popcorn on the street on his own, touching the hearts of netizens and winning him an education opportunity.

According to Tao Tao's mother Yao Chuanhua, her son was born with the disabling condition. Over the years, she has continuously tried to train him to adapt and live as normally as possible.

As Tao Tao grew up, the idea of fostering his independence by selling homemade popcorn has brewed in the mother's mind. She taught Tao Tao how to make popcorn at home and helped set up a stall in Xiaoshan district, Hangzhou city of East China's Zhejiang province.

Tao Tao arranges the popcorn at his stall on the street in Xiaoshan district, Hangzhou, Zhejiang province. [Photo/CCTV News]

"Tao Tao, don't worry. Take it easy even if no one comes to buy," after a few words of encouragement, Yao stepped aside and let his son take charge.

Initially reserved and unaccustomed to street vending, Tao Tao struggled to attract buyers. To boost his confidence, the mother even paid some passersby to buy popcorn from her son's stall.

Gradually, despite shyness and physical difficulties, Tao Tao has become more active and confident, managing the business smoothly without relying on a megaphone to peddle the product.

"The moment you stood here, you were already a success." Being proud of Tao Tao's progresses, Yao shared videos of her son's popcorn selling story online, receiving immense care and support from netizens.

Tao Tao and his mother Yao Chuanhua make popcorn together. [Photo/CCTV News]

Some traveled specifically to buy popcorn from Tao Tao, and one viewer even ordered thousands of buckets. Many expressed a desire to donate, but Yao declined any form of donations. "My goal is to encourage him to make a brave step forward and connect with the outside world. I hope that one day he could live independently through his own efforts," Yao said.

"Tao Tao is a persevering child. He insists on making and packaging the popcorn all by himself, trying his best to prove that he can make it," Yao added.

Tao Tao takes a lesson at home from a special education teacher. [Photo/CCTV News]

The online video sensation has drawn the attention of the local education authority to Tao Tao's situation. After learning that the teen failed to receive proper school education due to health conditions, they have arranged for local special education teachers to offer him door-to-door teaching.

On Nov 19, Tao Tao took the classes for the first time at home, covering life skills, language, sensory training and crafts-making. The teachings will continue regularly thereafter.

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