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March 10, 2011

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Fame for ayi who returned saved cash

HOLDING a bag full of coins and small notes, Pan Qiaoying, an hourly paid domestic helper, visited her former employer and returned 7,320 yuan (US$1,116) she had saved while shopping for her over the past 11 years.

"I was stunned when I saw a bag of money," said Fei Qinhua, Pan's employer. She admitted she never imagined so much small change could be saved in the time Pan worked for her.

Pan, a 65-year-old local resident, who began to work for Fei's family after she retired from a textile factory, lives a thrifty life and saves every penny possible, not only for herself but also for her employer.

As cardiovascular disease and the aches and pains of old age took their toll, Pan decided to quit after the Spring Festival holiday.

She also decided that it was time to give back to 52-year-old Fei the money she had saved the family by shopping around when she offered to buy food for them.

"It's their money, and it should go back to them," said Pan, who is a Christian. "I just did what I should have done. It's not a big deal."

Even though Fei's family did not ask her to do so, the Shanghai ayi would still look out the best deals before she bought any food.

As the savings were usually small sums, Pan thought it would be too much trouble if she returned the petty cash to her employer each time.

"I had planned to give the money back once I quit," Pan told Shanghai Daily yesterday, adding that she did not expect so much cash to have accumulated.

For 800 yuan a month, Pan worked two hours every day for Fei's family, helping with cleaning, shopping and cooking. When she first took the job as an hourly paid ayi, she just wanted to make some money to support her family.

Pan's story began to attract attention after Fei's family posted it on a local website,

"We just wanted to express our gratitude to her and let more people know about such a good person," said Fei.

In a comment on the website, netizen Yi Rong said it was amazing that Pan had insisted on returning the money.

"We see the true sentiments in our daily life," said Yi.

Now Pan and Fei often phone each other and keep a close, sister-like relationship.


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