Little Song Biyang is unlike other boys his age. Each morning as he readies for school, his grandmother gives him 2 yuan for breakfast. As he skips along the way to class watching his friends enjoy steaming porridge, he detours to a nearby shop to buy a lottery ticket.
It’s been nearly five months, but all that Song has managed to win is 10 yuan. Yet he soldiers on, on an empty stomach, hoping that tomorrow will be the day when the stars align for him, helping him save his father’s life.
“I drink some water when I feel hungry, but I will continue to do it because I want my father to be healthy again,” says Song.
Song’s father is in need of a kidney transplant. With his condition worsening over time, the Hubei Province native had to give up work. That only compounded the problem, with the estimated cost of the surgery being around 30,000 yuan ($4,800), according to local media reports.
“I stopped working since 2008 and right now my family is deeply indebted, and I have to pay 12,000 yuan ($1,900) for dialysis sessions every year,” he says.
When he first learned about his son’s decision to starve himself in the hope of winning a lottery, he was shocked. He says that he has often tried to persuade Song to stop skipping breakfast for him like that. “I tell him to stop doing that, but he won’t listen,” he says.
Realizing Song’s dedication to help him, the father finally decided that there would be little he could do to change his son’s mind. “Now his granny gives him 3 yuan so he can get something to eat after paying for the lottery,” he explains.
Ever since it was reported in the local press, Song’s story has won legions of hearts on social media in China.
A user @bailongwanglifeng wrote: “I wish you can win the lottery and help your dad.”
Another user @Karen-kishi said: “I don’t have enough money to help your dad with the operation, but I’d love to buy you breakfast!”
However, there are others who have been questioning how lottery tickets can be sold to a child. “Is it allowed to sell tickets to juveniles? Isn’t it illegal!?” said a user @woshichenxingxing.
“Buying lottery tickets is like gambling in a way, which is bad for children,” argued a user named @wojianyoulianchenburan.
“What role is the Red Cross or other welfare organizations playing here? Shouldn’t they do something?” wrote a user named @leguandefengzi.