One heartbreaking strory that I would love to share today.
By Gary Wang
Trust means confidence, reliance and belief. Trust is one of the basic relationships between human beings and makes it possible for human beings to live as a group. Mutual trust is beneficial. With trust, people cooperate, help and support each other. On the other hand, people can suffer a lot from mistrust. When trust is betrayed the cost can sometimes be life itself. I recognized the importance of trust more deeply after the tragic event that happened about ten years ago.
That time I worked in a hospital in the suburb of Beijing. It was a humid and hot summer day. Despite the fact that more than a half month had passed since Beijing government declared military control of the city, the students still occupied the Tian’anmen Square at the center of Beijing city; hundreds of thousands Beijingers still voluntarily blocked the streets and kept the army from getting into the downtown area of Beijing. That day my research had kept me late in my lab until about 5 pm. When I went out of the research building, I heard people yelling loudly outside the hospital. My heart tightened, when I saw a troop of army in trucks pushing their way in front of our hospital; at the same time about one hundred people, most of them inpatients of our hospital, were standing or sitting in front of the trucks and trying to stop the movement of the army. I realized then that perhaps the main streets from the suburbs to downtown had been blocked by the citizens, so that this troop of soldiers must have taken the small road that passed by our hospital, to try to sneak toward Tian’anmen Square. Tens of trucks filled with soldiers stopped in the road but the engines were still running. Soldiers got out from the trucks in front and tried to push the people out of the street by hands. Obviously, it was impossible on the patients, most of them suffered from end stage malignant diseases, to stop the young soldiers. I tried hard to figure out what I could do at that moment.
Suddenly I saw four men in soldier’s uniform who looked older than the average soldier, jump out from a truck and walk toward the front of the troop. The soldiers stood still when they saw the four men approaching. I guessed the four men to be officers. That time I naively believed that there might be some misunderstanding between the citizens and the army. I thought if we explained to the army what happened in Beijing and why the students were demonstrating in Tian’anmen Square , the soldiers would not go to the square any more. I followed the four men and tried to find an opportunity to talk with them. The four men just stood in front of the first truck and watched for a short time; then they walked toward the hospital gate. I followed them. The four men stopped at doorman’s room and wanted to make a phone call. The doorman refused them sharply and said: “I cannot help you to do anything today if you want to go to the Tian’anmen.”
The chance came, I thought. I approached the four men and asked them in a friendly way if they needed help. The four men asked me if I could find a phone for them. “Certainly yes,” I replied. I asked them to follow me to my office. My office was on the top floor of a fourteen-story building. While we were walking, I asked the four men if they knew what had happened in Beijing. They told me they came from the northeast, about 500 miles from Beijing, and had not read any news for two weeks. I took them to my office and asked them to read newspapers and pictures I had collected. To my surprise, I found they really did not know the situation in Beijing and started to read the papers eagerly. I told them what I thought and explained why the citizens wanted to stop the army. They were surprised when they read the paper that the whole city of Beijing was in good order and crime rate had dropped to all-time low, even though the army and policemen had been kept out of the city for more than three weeks by the citizens of Beijing who supported the students. “There is no need for any army to come in Beijing to keep the city in order, as you can see even the thieves are on strike now ,” I told the officers. The four men puzzled because they were told the purpose of the army to get in Beijing was to keep the city in order. They spent about half an hour in my office reading and listening to me. I told them I would do anything for them if they would stop.
At last, one of the four men told me, with tears filling in his eyes: “Doctor, thank you for telling us the truth. But we are soldiers, we have to follow the commands. Please trust us, we are not going to fight with the student. That is why we have to use a phone.” I trusted them. I helped them to get connected with the top commander from my office. I heard them telling the commander their phone system was out of order; they could not move ahead because thousands of people were standing in front of them, and the tires of their trucks had been flattened by the mass. Before the four men walked out of my office, we firmly shook hands and repeated to each other “I trust you!” From that moment I realized what “trust” means. To help save lives of students, we exchanged the trust with credits of our own lives.
Every body knows what happened in Beijing later that evening. Hundreds of innocent civilians were killed. But maybe a little relief to my aching heart is the fact that nobody died in the southeast of Beijing. The troop in front of our hospital did not move a step from the gate of our hospital that night.
Many days later, I received a phone call from one of the four men. He wanted to see if I was safe and again said deeply “I trust you.” I could not hold my tears from my eyes and replied: “I trust you too.”
More than nine years have passed, the words “I trust you” still ring in my ear clearly.