n 18-year-old student from Yongkang, Zhejiang province has earned the title of “Watermelon Boy,” setting out to sell more than 35,000 kilograms of the suckers in two months in order to pay for his college tuition.
The student, surnamed Li, grew up in poverty. According to a viral news video from China’s state broadcaster CCTV, his mother abandoned him to another family soon after she gave birth. However, his adoptive family’s lack of money hasn’t stopped Li from working towards his dream of becoming a police officer. After graduating from high school, he was accepted into the Zhejiang Police College with high marks.
Unfortunately, being accepted by the university came with the catch of coming up with 14,000 yuan in tuition in two months.
To make that kind of cash, Li has decided to spend his summer selling watermelons. Each morning, he wakes up early to stock up on watermelons before setting up a makeshift stand outside a local market, selling melons well into the evening.
While Li initially didn’t sell too many melons, eventually he was clearing at least 100 yuan a day.
However, things took a sudden turn for the worse one morning when Li fainted while riding his motorbike. The medical costs of that mishap set him back nearly 1,000 yuan and his motorbike was totaled.
After learning about his situation, a nurse at the hospital offered to give Li some money. However, Li refused the nurse’s offer. Instead, she decided to give him money by buying his watermelons.
Like the nurse, many other locals have offered to give Li money directly, but he has turned them all down. “If I take their money, I would never be able to hold my head up high,” he said. “I have to work hard to achieve what I want in life. You can’t just buy that with money.”
With about a month left until school starts, Li has managed to save up more than 8,000 yuan for his tuition. With more watermelons still to sell and the help of scholarships, he should be able to afford to pay his tuition fees before the start of the school year.