A false kidnapping report highlighted the harsh reality of a ride-hailing driver in eastern China who had to take his daughter on shifts with him because there was nobody at home to take care of her.
The man, surnamed Cui, from Zhejiang province, often allowed his daughter to sleep in the boot of his car while he worked. On Aug 4, one of his passengers noticed movement coming from the boot and she called the police and reported Cui for kidnapping.
When the police arrived, Cui showed the officer his and his daughter's identity cards to prove he was not kidnapping a child.
"My daughter climbed into the boot and took a nap at noon, and the woman was sitting in the back seat and heard my daughter moving," Cui told the police officer.
"She jumped out of the car and ran away after I had driven for a few hundred metres."
In an attempt to understand the situation, the police officer asked Cui why he had brought the girl along with him. Cui said he had divorced his wife and did not live with any older relatives who could care for the girl. So, he had to bring the girl when he worked as a ride-hailing driver.
Cui said that when his daughter gets tired of sitting, she will climb into the boot to sleep.
The officer determined that the passenger made an honest mistake and told Cui: "You should tell people about the situation ahead of time because people can easily misinterpret it when they find a youngster sleeping in the boot."
People were moved by the father's attempt to balance his duties as a parent with the need to make a living. Many people lamented the difficulties in life and praised Cui for being a responsible father.
"This is the truth of most people. Life is difficult," a person wrote.
Another commented: "If he had another choice or was in better circumstances, he would not have decided to put his child in the boot."
This was not the first time a ride-hailing driver was wrongly accused of kidnapping while carrying his child in the boot during work.
Another similar incident occurred in December 2020 in Jinhua, Zhejiang province, when two male passengers called the police to report a "kidnapping" case, which turned out to be a father carrying his four-year-old son in the boot because no one at home could care for him.