An overworked 20-year old man from Taiwan received enormous amounts of sympathy from the public after having fallen asleep at the wheel and hitting three stationary Ferrari supercars.
As a restaurant worker with a monthly salary of 35,000 Taiwan dollars ($1,136), Lin Chin-hsiang would have needed 28 years to pay for the damages, which according to local media were worth a total of 12 million Taiwan dollars, or $390,000.
Help from the public
Since the story broke, he received nothing but support from his fellow peers, who began donating money in order to help him pay off what at first seemed like an insurmountable sum. The public’s response reflected Taiwan’s growing dissatisfaction with the widening wealth gap.
Also, the fact that he wasn’t under the influence of alcohol and had a clean driving record definitely helped too, as it brought the focus back on the fact that he was simply very tired after working night shifts at a barbecue restaurant. Apparently, after arriving home at around 3:00 AM this past Sunday, he decided to help his mom (who wasn’t feeling wheel) and went out on another delivery to a nearby temple.
Unfortunately, he fell asleep as the wheel at around 5:40 AM and crashed into three Ferraris. The luxury supercars belonged to a group of friends who were out for a scenic drive. Thankfully they were standing by their vehicles and nobody was injured during the incident.
“I thought: ‘Oh no, I’ve gotten myself into a big mess.’ I was really worried about bringing trouble to my mother and having to pay so much money. I wanted to help her, but made things worse,” said Lin during an interview with the BBC earlier this week.
He went on to say: “I’m really grateful to everyone who has offered to help and who has come here to encourage me. Some people even drove up from central Taiwan and asked me where they can donate money. Some spent a long time looking for our shop, some are not in good situation, but they still gave money.”
“Some people gave 5,000 ($160) or 10,000 ($325). They just said ‘In the future, you just have to help society.”
Since then, local authorities have asked people willing to donate money to do so by directing funds to an official account. So far, more than 100 donations have been made, with the smallest ones equaling some $4 and the largest nearly $6,500. A total of 740,000 Taiwan dollars ($24,000) have been raised.
Meanwhile, multiple people on social media called on the Ferrari owners to forgive the 20-year old and forget about the money, considering his financial circumstances. However, one Ferrari owner stated publicly that since he worked very hard to buy his car, he would want to be compensated for the damages.
Still, according to Mr Lin, the Ferrari owners were generally kind and did not insist that he pay what he owes all at once, but rather in installments.
“I’m really sorry to have hit their cars, really sorry. It wasn’t intentional… Even though it will take a long time, I committed a wrong. I should still pay for it.”