(SEOUL, South Korea) — Thousands of beer bottles cascading off a five-ton container truck seems like a disaster. But average citizens who came to the rescue are earning praise across South Korea for making the best of a bad situation.
The accident, which took place in June but is now gaining traction on social media as people try to track down the good Samaritans, came as a truck driver made a sharp turn in Chuncheon city, flooding the street with a torrent of beer and broken glass and engulfing the road in white foam in seconds.
The spill, which took place about 46 miles north of Seoul, the capital, could have easily precipitated a chain of additional accidents and an hourslong traffic jam — but 18 good Samaritans saved the day.
Immediately after the 2,000 bottles shattered on the road, the driver pulled over, then trudged toward the heap and began to gather the remains together.
Moments later, a passerby approached the driver and started to pile the crates up on one side. The owner of a local convenience store then brought brooms and dustpans and joined the effort.
The rain — along with their lack of umbrellas and raincoats — didn’t stop 16 more passersby from coming together and sweeping the road clean in less than a half-hour. When the work was done, they nonchalantly returned to their own affairs — as though it was just a matter of course.
Six days after the incident, Oriental Brewery Company revealed the footage of the beer spill cleanup captured by surveillance cameras. The company published notices and ads with footage of the incident to track down the good Samaritans and thank them. They used the slogan, “We are looking for the real heroes of Chuncheon city.”
“We wanted to find the citizens and express our gratitude to each of them in person,” Joo-hwan Baek, associate public relations director of Oriental Brewery Company, told ABC News. “We also hoped to spread the word of the good they did. It was very inspiring for us as well.”
The footage of the cleanup has been trending on South Korea’s social media and news ever since.
Viewers said the thoughtful gesture by passersby has warmed their hearts and restored their faith in humanity amid calamitous times.
“No one asked the citizens to jump in the rain and pitch in; it was a collective, voluntary effort with a selfless motive,” 20-year-old Se-yeon Hwang told ABC News. “The video was a powerful reminder of the good a supportive community with an altruistic heart can do.”
Seoul may now be seeing a butterfly effect.
A similar accident occurred less than a week after Oriental Brewery Company revealed the video. Another truck spilled hundreds of bottles of Korean vodka in the middle of a busy street in Incheon Metropolitan City.
Given the long tail of cars and buses following the truck, collateral damage appeared inevitable, but dozens of citizens who witnessed the accident came together and helped clear the highway in about a half-hour.
“It’s heartwarming to see pure goodwill like this, especially in an era of war, violence and widespread hate,” 52-year-old Mei Lee told ABC News. “I hope to see more acts of kindness in this world.”
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