How well does your Uber Eats guy know his Shakespeare?
Food delivery whizz wins TV poetry quiz
A food courier in eastern China wowed viewers and judges alike with his unrivaled knowledge of poets and poetry last week, taking first prize in a popular verse-themed television quiz show.
Lei Haiwei, who works in Hangzhou, in eastern Zhejiang province, said he was as surprised as anyone when he emerged victorious in the latest series of Chinese Poetry Congress, The Beijing News reported.
“I didn’t expect to win at all,” the 37-year-old was quoted as saying. “I heard that 100,000 people signed up for the contest, so you are lucky to get among the top 100.”
Congratulating Lei on his victory, the competition’s host Dong Qing told Lei: “You didn’t just conquer all your opponents. You also conquered yourself. You conquered life. You are one of the victorious in life.”
But Lei’s win had nothing to do with luck. Despite not coming from an academic or literary background, he is a voracious consumer of all things poetic.
Whenever he has a break during his working day, or even if he is waiting at a traffic light, he recites verse to himself, the report said.
“Reciting poems not only enriches my knowledge, but also makes my job less boring,” Lei told the China Daily.
Lei said that although he came from a relatively poor family in central China’s Hunan province, and never had money for books, he always had a love for poetry.
His favorite pastime after school was to visit his local bookshop, where he would sit and try to memorize all the works he could find.
He was quoted as saying that after all that “revision” he could now recite about 800 poems from memory.
His encyclopedic knowledge was exactly what steered him to glory in the television show. And he needed to be on top form, as his final opponent was a man called Peng Min, who not only has a master’s degree in literature from Peking University – one of China’s top schools – but is also the editor of a poetry magazine.
But no one could match Lei in the contest, which tested the competitors on such things as their ability to name poems, link works to their authors and recite lines.
Unfortunately for Lei, there was no prize for winning the competition. But that is unlikely to dim his passion for poetry.
The courier delivery driver is single and looking for marriage, and now he has a song in his heart.
As for his many customers, they can rest assured: even if their food is not on time, it will always be on rhyme.