In recent days, a TikTok user @talesfromthestreets4 was approached by an Asian female beggar on the streets of the United States, requesting $1 to buy water. The reason for the specific amount of one dollar is that the water she desired to purchase had a retail price of 99 cents.
A man suggested, “Instead of giving you money, can I directly buy water for you?” The female beggar agreed, so the man went to a supermarket and bought water for her.
After receiving the water, the female beggar asked the man, “Can you give me some money?” The man agreed and began to engage in conversation with her. Later, the blogger uploaded the video on YouTube, and the shocking conversation has been viewed over 240,000 times.
The protagonist, named Leah, is 31 years old and claims to be a Chinese-American. She said she came to the United States from Toronto to study at Arizona State University 11 years ago when she was 20 years old. However, when the blogger asked her to speak Chinese, she only said “thank you” and did not speak any more Chinese. It is speculated that she is a Canadian-born Chinese (CBC).
She mentioned her academic achievements from back then, stating that she had excellent grades with a GPA of 4.0, earning all A’s. Her teachers liked her very much. She pursued a major in interior design at Arizona State University and successfully graduated.
When asked about her homelessness, Leah explained that she is married and has a family. Her husband is Mexican, and they met at a casino. She goes home to sleep at night and is sent out during the day to “wander” because her parents (her husband’s parents) do not allow her to stay at home during the day. She also mentioned being constantly beaten with a stick.
In the video, the blogger asked, “When you were 19? Was it voluntary or forced?” Leah replied, “It was voluntary because I wanted a better life, and I wanted to take care of myself.”
When it comes to her specific job, the video mutes her voice. Based on the context, she is likely involved in sex work and started working at the age of 19. Leah mentioned that initially in Canada, she could earn around $200 a day, while in the United States, it was about $100 a day.
However, it is unclear whether it was due to her appearance or other factors, but she ended up with nothing, living in extreme poverty, and even experiencing mental illness. As a result, she became a beggar, relying on begging for survival.
During the conversation between the blogger and Leah, an unfamiliar man approached. Leah seemed frightened, and the man stared at her and asked some personal questions. When he extended his hand to shake hers, there was a sense of warning. So when the man reached out to her a second time, Leah reacted with fear and avoided him. She expressed to the blogger that she didn’t know the man.
In the video, it appears that her speech is generally clear, but her mental state seems slightly confused.
The video has received nearly 4,000 comments:
The majority of internet users expressed sympathy, with many saying, “As parents, it’s hard to imagine how heartbreaking it would be to see our own children end up like this.”
“Her parents may not even be aware of her situation. They sent her to the United States for studying, but she gradually spiraled down and couldn’t explain it to her parents. She had no choice but to cut off all contact with them.“
Some clever netizens quickly pointed out the unusual aspects in the video. “Leah must be under some form of control to a certain extent. It is not normal to confide in strangers so much, and the fact that she is not allowed to go home during the day, being beaten with a stick and having alcohol poured on her… This intelligent woman is seeking help in this way. The man who came to interrupt their conversation might be a member involved in her involvement in prostitution.”
“I believe that guy wanted to warn her not to speak out of line. If he is indeed the controller as speculated, he must be worried about Leah revealing more details. It’s evident that this man is here to monitor her.”
A well-informed netizen claiming to know Leah has revealed, “She has been involved in drug abuse and engaged in prostitution for at least 8 years for money. This woman is highly intelligent and knows how to manipulate people’s emotions, making it difficult to distinguish truth from falsehood. If you intend to donate money, be cautious because her private conversations may not align with what she presents publicly.”
“It’s undeniable that she is a drug addict. Even she herself may have difficulty distinguishing between reality and imagination when she mentions stories involving Hollywood actresses. Her memories are a jumble.”
Another group of internet users with unconventional perspectives focused on Leah’s heritage.
“She herself claims to have grown up in Toronto, Ontario, and she doesn’t even know how to speak Chinese.”
An African American brother who grew up in the Chinese community denies Leah’s Chinese identity: “She might be intentionally trying to defame Chinese people because the physical differences are significant. Chinese people have much smaller heads and faces compared to hers.”
Opinions in the comment section are divided, and regardless of the actual situation, everyone expresses regret over Leah’s transformation from a promising international student to a sex worker and then to a mentally ill beggar.