Edgar O. Crossman III (Terry): Foreign community volunteer in Beijing
I’m Gao Tianrui,I’m an American, I have been in Beijing for 23 years.I moved to Beijing in 1995, I was a headhunter at the time .At that time, China's economy was so open that many foreign companies came to China, bringing in various types of investments. They needed these good talents. I'm a volunteer now in retirement .I used to see volunteers with red armbands, and was curious about what they were doing, wondering why they were looking at me, were they recording what I was doing, were they interfering with my living habits.Almost a year and a half ago, I began to know these "Xicheng Grannies" .One day they came to see me. They said there were a lot of foreign tourists here, and asked if I was willing to join them and be a volunteer. I said yes, and they started training me. Then, like during the "two sessions", I also walked with them on the streets, but most of the time I do volunteer work at sentry boxs .Although I am not a Granny, I am a Grandpa, they often invited me to their activities. Later, I began to give directions and serve water in the box at Lotus Market. It was fun. Many people asked me the way. Not many people would notice that I was a foreigner when they come to me for help. When they do notice and are surprised, I would say it’s OK, you can keep asking me questions, you can rest assured, I'll be able to answer. I'm starting to get to know these people who are volunteering. They are retired, over the age of 55 or 60, and I think these people are great.Their are generally extroverts in terms of personality. They are all kind people who really want to serve the people .In fact, when I wear this red jacket, my thinking will change, I will pay attention to litters on the ground, and if a bike is parked in a wrong place and obstruct traffic, if I do not wear this jacket, I may not have this awareness, but once I wear it, I think I have a responsibility .They are all nice to me, and taught me how to make homemade noodles .And they always have a lot of these activities, I also participated in some, like singing. It’s real fun. I think Beijing is a very safe place in China. Why? When I walk in the alley with them, they constantly greet others. I did the same later, greeting my neighbors. How are you today, Lao Meng? Eaten? This creates a very warm neighborhood atmosphere. I really enjoy serving others. In fact, when people find a foreigner doing voluntary service, they will also smile happily. And they will have a good impression of Beijing.