Wang Ke, a professor from Southeast University in Nanjing, Jiangsu province, won applause online for keeping his promise to students by traveling 737 kilometers by taxi in heavy rain brought by Super Typhoon Mangkhut to make it to class on time.
Wang was in Guangzhou, Guangdong province visiting friends when the typhoon hit on Sunday. He planned to go back to Nanjing by plane on Sunday morning, but found that airports, high-speed railways and buses had all been shut down because of the extreme weather.
"I had worked and lived in Fujian, a province often hit by summer typhoons, for 13 years and was familiar with them," Wang said. "But I didn't expect Typhoon Mangkhut would be this strong. I thought I could leave Guangzhou in the morning before the storm landed in the afternoon."
Wang thought about taking a taxi to the nearby airport in Changsha, Hunan province, but few taxi drivers wanted to go out of the city in the wind and rain.
"I was lucky to find a driver for a ride-hailing service who was brave. He found a friend and the two took turns driving the taxi."
On their way to the Changsha airport, they found that many highways with speed limits of 120 kilometers per hour had been closed, so they had to take provincial-level highways at 60 to 80 km/h.
"It was quite an experience," Wang said. "The traffic lights swayed in the fierce wind. We saw many trees blown down or broken. We could feel that sometimes the car was drifting. It was like taking a boat in the ocean."
Sometimes they had to drive at 20 km/h. After 13 hours, they arrived at the Changsha airport at 0:20 am.
Wang paid 4,600 yuan ($670) to the two drivers and thanked them. He caught a flight and completed his 23-hour journey back to Nanjing, managing to arrive at the university in time.
"It's not because I have high moral standards," said Wang. "I just thought that the students' schedule shouldn't be changed because of me."
"My parents were also teachers. My father jumped into floodwaters to save the lives of three students, and my mother used to take good care of a physically challenged student for years. I learned from them that teachers should value and care about their students."
According to Southeast University, Wang hasn't been responsible for a schedule change in 28 years.
Guo Jun contributed to this story.