Damage to the yellow Ferrari after being struck by Mr Lin’s van. (New Tapei City Police Department)
A young Taiwanese deliveryman is facing a $547,000 repair bill after he dozed off and crashed into four parked Ferraris worth a combined $2.8 million.
- Mr Lin was helping his mother with morning deliveries after a night shift when he crashed
- It would take Mr Lin about 28 years to pay for the repairs, but citizens are donating to help
- The time it would take for Mr Lin to pay the repair bill highlighted Taiwan’s widening wealth gap
Taiwan News reported that Lin Chin-hsiang, 20, was delivering goods in New Taipei at 5:40am this week when he nodded off and smashed his van into the Italian sports cars, whose owners had gathered near the Danlan Suspension Bridge for an early morning drive.
The front Ferrari was painted red, and the ones behind it were blue, white and yellow, respectively.
Mr Lin’s Mitsubishi van crashed into the side of the yellow Ferrari, which in turn slammed into the white one. The white Ferrari then hit the back bumper of the blue Ferrari, causing it to hit the lead red Ferrari.
Mr Lin was uninjured, and all four Ferrari owners were out of their cars and talking when the crash occurred.
The yellow and white Ferraris incurred serious damage.
The blue Ferrari only had damage to its rear bumper; the lead red car only suffered a busted rear number plate, and the owner did not file a report for compensation.
Mr Lin’s own van, also damaged, was uninsured.
He was not speeding, had a clean driving record and an on-scene breathalyser test confirmed he had no alcohol in his system.
The owner of the red Ferrari only had a damaged number plate and didn’t file for compensation. (New Taipei City Police Department)
Mr Lin has two siblings, lives with his mother, and dropped out of school to work nights at a barbecue restaurant in Taipei and help out at the family shop — a sheet-metal shack that also serves as their home.
Channel NewsAsia reported that because his mother was not feeling well, he was helping her deliver goods when the crash occurred.
Instead, Mr Lin’s error cost him over half a million dollars.
“I thought: ‘Oh no, I’ve gotten myself into a big mess,'” he told the BBC.
“I wanted to help her, but made things worse.”
Taiwan News reported that one person online wrote, “It’s going to take a lifetime to pay for the damages.”
Another: “This is sadder than the saddest story.”
Taiwanese citizens respond
But that is not how the story ends.
Dozens who heard about the accident called the local police station or showed up at the family shop to donate to the repairs.
The Lins’ story, a financial tragedy in its own right, gripped Taiwan by shining a light on the island’s widening wealth gap.
When Taiwan’s United Daily News reported that one local business owner had donated, Mr Lin reportedly broke down in tears.
Taiwanese broadcaster TVBS reported that an Australian exchange-student went to the store and donated around $2,275 in a red envelope to help the family cover some of the costs.
When he donated the money, the student told reporters, “I’m as young as he is now and I have the means, so decided to help them out”.
The BBC reported more than 100 donations have been made, including one of over $33,700.
Mr Lin’s college also invited him back as well.
‘I committed a wrong’
Some in Taiwan have called on the Ferrari owners to forgive Mr Lin.
The BBC reported that on Mr Lin’s current salary of about $1,600 a month, it would take him about 28 years to pay for the repairs.
But according to the BBC, one owner already said publicly he worked hard, and wanted to be compensated.
Mr Lin said he wanted to pay for the costs.
“I’m really sorry to have hit their cars, really sorry,” he said. “It wasn’t intentional.”
“Even though it will take a long time, I committed a wrong. I should still pay for it.”