Airports have long been seen as the gateway for an escape to get away from day-to-day life and explore the world beyond.
Well, one man took the term ‘escape’ a little too far after venturing to Beijing Capital International Airport 14 years ago and never returned.
Remember “The Terminal”, the cult classic in which Tom Hanks plays a man stuck in an airport for years because of a political coup in his home country which renders his passport invalid? Well, his story is nothing like that of this article’s protagonist, a Chinese man who has been living inside an airport for over 14 years, of his own free will.
After losing his job in his early 40s, Wei Jianguo became so depressed that he spent his days drinking alcohol and smoking cigarettes. His family didn’t like that one bit and told him that he had to give up his two biggest pleasures in life if he wanted to continue living in the family home. He couldn’t do that, so he simply moved into Beijing Airport.
According to China Daily, Wei, now in his 60’s, is unemployed and has been living inside the airport’s Terminal 2 since 2008.
“My family advised me that if I wanted to stay, I needed to stop smoking and drinking. If I couldn’t do that, I was forced to give them my whole monthly government grant of 1,000 yuan ($150). But how would I get my smokes and drink then?” He told the China Daily in an interview.
Wei had worked at an internal combustion engine factory for 20 years. He said he was laid off from work in his 40s as he was “too old”.
Wei’s daily routine consists of visiting the nearest shop to buy “six steamed pork buns and a bowl of porridge for breakfast” some food for lunch and a bottle of baijiu – the Chinese white spirit, the report stated. “At least I have my freedom in the airport,” Wei said.
Wei has also said that he often has no idea what time of day it is and now is not perturbed by waking up around a sea of travelers.
In 2017, just before Christmas, airport authorities asked Wei to leave and the police even drove him to his home which is 20 kilometers from the airport. However, he returned to his adopted home within a few days saying, “I get expelled, lay low, and then I come back, just like old times… at least I have my freedom in the airport.”
Watch the video below for more details: