The woman apparently worked at a construction site, and was embarrassed to sit beside “clean-clothed” people as she might get them dirty—but the bus driver told her something that touched her heart and changed her mind.
Male-dominated industries and occupations are particularly vulnerable to masculine stereotypes that make it even more difficult for women to excel. Globally women continue to be highly overrepresented in clerical, service, and professional occupations. Unfortunately for some women, poverty has forced them to work menial jobs in order to make ends meet.
58-year-old Wang Zhenzhen works at a construction site as a laborer doing men’s hash duty together with her husband. Because of the harsh work, she would often get her clothes dirty and would have to wash up at home. She would usually take the route 2 Haining bus home, and chose to stand up instead of sitting on free seats.
A passenger saw her and went up to and asked her, “take a seat, it’s an empty bus” to which she replied, “my clothes are too dirty and it might dirty the clean seats on this bus and irritate the other passengers.” These words touched the passenger and he decided to post it on social media.
Many netizens praised her, “This lady works at a construction site but her integrity was way beyond us educated people.”
Another comment said, “Your clothes may be dirty but you have a crystal clear conscience.”
A reporter even went to the construction site to give her an interview.
“My job is to assemble scaffolding at the construction site. My husband and son are also working here”
“This is tough work which is meant for men, could you move them?” asked the reporter.
“No problem. I used to do hard labour at farms. I am illiterate so all I could do is this kind of harsh work.” Madam Wang said.
Apparently, she has two boys and a daughter. Her elder son and daughter are already married and her youngest son who lives with her is planning to get married soon. She said, “Our old house is a wooden one and has been standing since 30 years ago. It leaks terribly during rainy days so we need to work to get our house repaired and at the same time save up some money for his marriage.”
According to Wang, she would sit on empty seats when her clothes are clean, so as not to inconvenience other passengers. “Usually, I would take a bath at the site and change into a set of clean clothes. Only then I would sit down on the bus seat. Now, I am filthy and I do not have clean clothes to change into so I would just stand,” she added.
Suddenly, her tone changed to happy, “Yesterday the driver who saw me standing told me to pick a seat and sit down. He said that if I get the seat dirty, he would clean it up later on. I was touched so I chose a seat and sat down for the whole journey back home yesterday.”
It is heart-warming that a few simple words would touch her heart so much that it would be considered the best bus ride of her life. This just goes to show that other people don’t care about how she looked, but are more concerned that she stands during the entire trip.