She lost a leg but she won the hearts and respect of a nation. Through it all, Wen Huazhi never stopped smiling.
Wen Huazhi was just an ordinary tour guide in China when, on one fateful day in August 2005, her tour bus crashed into a coal truck on a remote highway. The passengers were trapped in the mangled wreckage of the bus for hours, waiting for help to arrive. Some people, including the driver and another tour guide, died instantly. Wen's own leg was broken, the bone jutting out of her skin. But she was more worried about something else: her passengers.
"We must hold on," Wen urged her tour group. "Everyone will get out alive. Help is on the way."
Wen struggled to call out, risking her own death to warn her passengers not to fall asleep out of fear they would not wake up. Her voice was faint among the dying chaos, but her words rang out – a strong hope for the living.
"It was this voice that made us see the hope and hold on until we were rescued," one of passengers said.