“When you see this letter, you can regard it as me speaking to you in person, and short as it may seem, it abounds with my love.”

These words from the Chinese TV program Letters Live, long or short, touch a chord deep in the hearts of people from afar.

At the beginning of 2018, Curt A. Ferguson, president, Coca-Cola Greater China and South Korea, was greatly moved by such a letter from a Chinese Coke fan.

“This is the best New Year’s gift I have received this year at Coca-Cola,” Ferguson said.

A Handwritten Letter
Fate can bring people together, even after 10 years.

The author was 78-year-old Yang Chenglong. As a college student in the 1950s, despite experiencing great difficulties, he followed his heart, never doubting his own innate sense of right and wrong. Born into a family of scholars, Yang was once a surgeon and also a self-educated lawyer. Before retiring, he taught at Shanghai University and mathematician Su Buqing was his neighbor at that time.

Reading between the lines of his letter, one can discern the spirit of his generation: sincerity, integrity, selflessness and a willingness to share.

Yang and his granddaughter
Yang and his granddaughter pose for a photo at Shanghai Coca-Cola World

Early in 2008, Yang attended a quiz-style competition on the Beijing Olympic Games and won a bicycle sponsored by Coca-Cola. Over the last decade, he carefully preserved the bike, even keeping the wrapping paper for luck.

Yang’s granddaughter came up with the idea of donating this bicycle back to Coca-Cola. While they could have easily contacted Coca-Cola by phone or email, they decided to get in touch through a handwritten letter.

“I planned to phone them, but was afraid I wouldn’t make myself clear, so I decided to use a more traditional and sincere way: a letter,” said Yang.

He emphasized that he had no selfish motives behind his decision to hand the bike back.

“It’s great that we are brought back together by fate after 10 years. I just want to share this tiny piece of luck with everyone," Yang said. "It’s quite surprising that Coca-Cola would pay so much attention to this letter and the president replied in person. I am so happy that I did the right thing."

Chinese Letter
Preserving sincerity to remind us to care

On Feb. 1, Yang's lucky bicycle together with his sincere handwritten letter were formally added to the Shanghai Coca-Cola World’s collection. The Shanghai Coca-Cola World also issued him with a collector’s certificate.

Yang and his granddaughter
Yang and his granddaughter pose for a photo with the donated bicycle in the Coca-Cola Museum

Collector's certificate
可口可乐公司领导向杨老颁发证书
A collector’s certificate was issued to Yang

“I was deeply impressed by my conversation with Yang. In the future, I’d also like to share my collection with more people,” said Shen Zuyao, one of the most passionate collectors of Coca-Cola items. After being informed of Yang’s story, Shen insisted on participating and witnessing the donation. He led Yang and his granddaughter around the Coca-Cola World and introduced Coca-Cola’s more than century-long history. Shen said he learned something from Yang: a higher-level significance of collecting.

In the "good old days", everything moved at a slow pace: time, transportation and the post. Even sending a simple message to express one’s regards and ask how a friend was doing had to wait for days. Just like Yang’s story with Coca-Cola, the warmth in people’s hearts is revealed after a 10-year wait and nearly one month of correspondence. Nowadays, everything moves fast and messages can be sent and received immediately. However, there are always some warmhearted stories deserving of our care and worth slowing down to enjoy these heartfelt moments.