A grandmother living in central Taiwan no longer has to carry her physically handicapped grandson to school on her back. Her story came to light earlier this week, prompting the Nantou County Government to provide a mini bus to pick them up five days a week.
At 7am on Wednesday, Yeh Tseng Su-chu (葉曾素珠) and her grandson, nicknamed Little Ting (小丁), who is blind and has cerebral palsy, boarded the bus in front of their home in Jhushan Township (竹山).
Yeh Tseng said with a big smile that she had applied for the bus service before, but was not successful.
Now, “[I’m] happy that my wish has finally been granted,” she said.
Yeh Tseng recalled her daily trips to the National Taichung Special School for the Visually Impaired, saying that she used to go to the Jhushan bus stop by scooter with Little Ting wrapped up on her back. However, her grandson sometimes became distressed if the weather was hot, which was dangerous.
“Now I feel I can go out with a lighter heart,” she said.
Each day, Yeh Tseng had to get up at 4am to prepare breakfast, then take her grandson by scooter to catch the 6am bus to Taichung Railway Station, where they would transfer to Fongyuan (豐原), and then take another bus to the school in Houli (后里).
The round trip is more than 140km, and they had to make the trip five days a week for the past three years.
Her grandson, who weighed just 7kg when he started school, now weighs 15kg.
Despite the heavy load on her back, Yeh Tseng said she was happy to see the progress her grandson had made and hoped that he would be able to take care of himself when he grew up.
The child’s father died several years ago. His mother lives elsewhere and visits him occasionally.
The story of the 60-year-old grandma piggybacking her grandson to school has moved many, prompting the local governments of both Nantou County and Greater Taichung to offer help.
Chang Mu-pin (張木斌), a Nantou social affairs official, said the county was trying to find out if there are special education classes in the county suitable for Little Ting, which would spare the two the difficulty of making the long journey every day.