Food delivery driver paying back doctors who saved him

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“Doctors and nurses are people who saved me from cancer and gave me strength in the darkest time. I need to return the favour,” says Li Yan, a food delivery rider based in Beijing.

Mr Li was diagnosed with lymph cancer in 2003, when he was just 17 years old. He recovered from the disease and has been full of gratitude ever since for the medical workers who nursed him back to health. With China in a national lockdown, food delivery firms found themselves in hot demand providing meals for residents stuck at home to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

As a delivery rider for Meituan, one of China’s biggest food delivery firms, Mr Li saw an opportunity to repay the medical professionals he admires by providing them with food and drinks as they worked tirelessly on patients across the city. “Given my past experience, I felt I needed to do something for them in return during the virus outbreak,” he adds.

Beijing is a city of 21 million residents, and Mr Li covers its Tongzhou district, where there are a handful of hospitals with fever clinics, one of which is a designated hospital for Covid-19 treatment. “Many might have concerns delivering for the hospital, but I’ve chosen to deliver for them more often. I just think of the local residents and medical workers who need us. I can’t leave them being hungry. It’s not for money.”