Millionaire Mom Has Been Working as Street Cleaner for 15 Years to 'Set an Example' for Her Kids

street cleanerAs parents, we all want to do right by our kids. We want to be the best possible version of ourselves. We want to be kind. We want to lead by example. And for many of us, we want to teach our children the value of a hard day's work. And although it isn't always easy, and although we sometimes fail, we always try at the very least. But let me ask you this: If you became a millionaire, thanks to selling the land your vegetable farm resided on (and then made even more money, thanks to a few smart business decisions), would you still get up six days a week at 3:00 in the morning to pick up trash off the streets just to "set an example" for your kids? To try to ensure they don't become entitled brats with no work ethic whatsoever? One mom did. And she's been doing it for 15 long years.

Yu Youzhen is somewhat of a celebrity in her hometown of Wuhan City in Central China because, yes, she's a millionaire (she owns 17 apartment buildings), but still manages to get up every day to clean the streets of her city. Her job pays her $230 a month, and like I said, she has to wake up at 3:00 a.m. six days a week. Youzhen told local reporters: "I want to set an example for my son and daughter, a person can't just sit at home and 'eat away' a whole fortune." She also noted that she was motivated when she saw other former landowners lose all their earnings to gambling and drugs. As for her children -- well, what Youzhen is doing is working. Currently, her son works as a driver, earning about $320 a month, while her daughter is an office worker, making $480 a month.

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I've gotta be honest here: If I were Yu, I probably wouldn't have kept my job. Of course I want to set an example for my kids -- and, yes, instill good work values in them -- but I really just can't see myself waking up at 3:00 in the morning each day to work as a street cleaner when I had millions of dollars in the bank. For 15 years. Unsurprisingly, there have been tons of lovely comments on the beautiful Internet, saying that Youzhen is a jerk for "taking someone else's job." And to that, I can only say: Wow. People really will always find something to hate on. (That's not a good example for kids!)

I think it's amazing what Youzhen is doing. And I admire her tremendously. She's teaching her kids responsibility, values, and the art of not complaining. And not only that, she's shown her children what "smart" business decisions and hard work can get you. How many millionaire parents are successful in doing that for their kids? How many rich kids have their own reality shows right now, simply for being rich?!

I wish I could say that I'd keep my street cleaning job if I came into great fortune like Youzhen did, but I can't even lie and say I would. (This is like the whole "Oh, yeah, I'd totally keep my job if I won the Power Ball.") I'm fairly certain I would do something with my money and life that would help instill good values into my children -- at least, I hope I would. But it definitely wouldn't entail waking up at 3:00 in the morning.

What do you think of this?


Image via WageIndicator - Paulien Ossen/Flickr



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bills... billsfan1104

Nowadays a million dollars does not go far, especially in this country.  So if I won a million dollars in the lottery, I would stlll work.

nonmember avatar sarah

if only kris jenner did that

Reali... RealityCheckNow

I know this story was in China but I wonder if the example she is setting is a positive one.  I don't know what the opportunities are like in China, but as a former hotel maid (worked my way through college), I hope I would try for a job with more opportunity for growth than street cleaner.  Even if I thought that was the extent of my talents, shoot for owning a cleaning business rather than being the employee after all the article does mention that she not only sold her farm but also made some savvy business decisions and owns 17 apartment buildings so clearly there is some savvy here.

quinn007 quinn007

I have to say I kind of agree with those saying she is taking a job away from someone else.  There would be other ways for her to teach these lessons to her children and a better use of her time might be to run a business or charity that provides employment or services to those that need it.  But it's her life and her money and I can't fault for her for what she is doing-I have far more admiration for someone like this than someone that spends their days thinking about what they'll spend their riches on. 

zandh... zandhmom2

I think she is teaching her children a valuable lesson and really just because a parent is rich doesn't mean a child is rich so good for both of her kids for working. 

missusmc missusmc

I think she is amazing! Not only is she continuing to work, but she is working a job that most people would not want.  She is teaching us all that no one is better than anyone else and you can't judge anyone by the status of their job.  

Karma... KarmaGrant

I think her story is awesome and she's a great role model. I'd much rather children look at a hard working person like her as a role than say one of our do nothing celebs or troubled sports stars.

gridi... gridironsmom

What should she do? If she is fulfilled in her own way by doing it, what right is it of ours to complain? Lots of people who retire for varous reasons find they have lost their reason to live. So she chooses to work... and set a good example for her kids. Good for her!

nonmember avatar Annetta

Its better then doing nothing if it was we u would want to build up a drug rehab place that works on more then just their srug addiction because their is more to it then drugs but this is what I want to do to show my son that with hard u can fix people and at the same time helping the society with people that feel good about their self and working

nonmember avatar HS

For those complaining that she's wasting a job someone else could use, SHE OWNS 17 APT BUILDINGS! Apts typically require employees of some sort. She's doing a menial, low paying job and probably getting paid less than the people she employs. Her job is one small job but her investments have created many jobs for others so I don't see what the problem is. Both her children get paid more than her which gives me the impression that the job she's doing probably isn't all that sought after anyway. Gee whiz. And like others are saying , a million dollars is a lot of money to them but wouldn't last long in the US so I'd keep working as well and invest the money in something.

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