Good conduct trumps good homework: student praised for taking responsibility for accident

The owner of a scooter damaged when a junior high school student accidentally bumped into it while cycling to school this morning declined compensation, saying that the happiness he felt at witnessing the young man’s exemplary conduct was worth far more than a cracked fender.

Somewhere in Taiwan at around 6:50 am today, the student, named Chen, was cycling to school, when heavy traffic compelled him to ride too far to the left, and he bumped into a scooter parked on the side of the road.

Security monitor footage recorded the incident, along with Chen’s actions that followed. Chen was seen getting off his bike and examining the scooter. Finding that a fender of the scooter was cracked, Chen quickly scawled a note apologizing for the incident.

Chen left his name, school, class, and his mother’s phone number on the apologetic note, hoping that the scooter’s owner would contact him so that Chen could provide compensation for the damage.

The contents of the note, along with pictures were uploaded to the Facebook group “Explosive News Commune” this afternoon, drawing praise from readers, along with a little criticism about Chen’s written Chinese.

Chen wrote in hastily-scrawled Chinese characters interspersed with phonetic symbols to represent characters he apparently did not know how to write.

Note written by student. The Chinese characters for “sorry” written in Zhuyin Fuhao phonetic symbols. Student was able to write the English word “sorry” correctly, so he gets a pass from Taiwan English News.

Chen wrote “I’m very sorry. Because there were a lot of cars this morning, I rode my bike too far inside (to the left), so accidentally hit your vehicle, causing a crack in the fender. I’m really sorry. Because I have to go to school I can’t wait, I’m sorry. I will be responsible for full compensation. Really sorry.”

As well as leaving his mother’s phone number, Chen also thoughtfully suggested the scooter owner contact his mother between the hours of 9:00 am and 12:00 pm, otherwise she might be too busy to answer.

At around 11:00 am, Chen, accompanied by his parents, went to the scooter owner’s house to offer compensation for the minor damage. But the owner refused to take any money.

No compensation is required, said the scooter owner. Instead, we must praise this child. “He really is a model,” the man said. “Although the scooter fender is cracked, I am very happy.”

The person who shared the story on Facebook said that the morality and attitude of the student provides a valuable lesson. “I didn’t necessarily have the courage to face mistakes I made when I was a child,” she wrote. “So I must share this with everyone. Students in Taiwan are really great.”

Most readers were touched by the story, saying that Chen had received a very good family education. However, a few were worried about the quality of Chen’s academic education, noting the use of phonetic symbols interspersed among Chinese characters in a note written by a junior high school student.

“Good conduct is better than good homework,” one reader responded to the criticism. “Such a responsible kid, as for the phonetics, let him pass!”

Chen family meet owner of damaged scooter.

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