A chance meeting led to a 78-year-old woman in China being reunited with her long-lost daughter.
Cai Youxiu had not seen her daughter Hu Jun in 24 years since Hu moved to another province for work.
They lost touch completely after Hu misplaced a piece of paper containing her family’s phone number.
When a 78-year-old woman asked a street cleaner for directions, she did not expect that the person would be her long-lost daughter whom she had not seen in 24 years.
The incident took place in a small city in China’s Sichuan province earlier this month, per The Cover, a Chinese news outlet.
The older woman, Cai Youxiu, had recently managed to trace her daughter, Hu Jun, to Langzhong city with the help of the police, the outlet reported.
While the police had arranged for the two to be reunited, Cai bumped into Hu entirely by chance a day before the scheduled meeting, per the outlet.
“I was cleaning in front of a school entrance when an old lady came to ask me for directions, and I immediately recognized her to be my mother,” Hu, 46, told The Cover. “I was so excited, but she didn’t recognize me even after I called her, ‘Mom.'”
Cai was initially wary of Hu and had to phone the police for confirmation that the latter was her daughter, the outlet reported.
The dramatic story captured Chinese social media this week, with many users comparing it to a scripted movie. On the Twitter-like Weibo platform, the hashtag “old person asks for directions and meets daughter missing for 24 years” has received more than 34 million views.
Pictures of the mother and daughter, standing next to two officers in front of the local police station, have since made their rounds online.
“Fate is such a mysterious thing — I wouldn’t even dare to write a novel with this plot because it’s so incredible,” a Weibo user commented.
However, many social media users were also critical of Hu and said she should have tried harder to reconnect with her family.
According to Chinese news outlet Red Star, Hu lost touch with her family after moving out of her hometown of Yunyang County to another province in 1999 to seek work at a jewelry factory.
She was unable to telephone home after she misplaced the paper containing her family’s phone number, the outlet reported. Later, she was cut off from them altogether after her family was forced to move out of their home to make way for the construction of the Three Gorges Dam, per the outlet.
“I tried sending them letters, but they were all returned because the old address was invalid,” Hu told The Cover.
“I’ve lost too much time with my mother. I vow to spend as much time as I can with her now,” she continued.
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