Ngo Minh Hieu has been Minh’s legs for the past ten years.
With his friend’s assistance, Minh has never missed a single class.
The story of the two teenagers has been widely shared on social media and received widespread media coverage, describing the friendship as “so inspiring and touching".
Hieu started carrying Minh to school when they were in second grade.
Due to his disability, Minh faces a lot of difficulties. His father’s health is also bad while his mother struggles to make ends meet. This meant getting to school was always going to be difficult for him.
Understand Minh’s desire to study and his strong determination, Hieu decided to help him.
Hieu still remembers what he told his parents when he was only 7 years old.
“I’ll carry Minh to school every day,” he recalled.
His parents thought it was simply a childish impulse, but over the past ten years, Hieu has become Minh’s legs. They play and learn together, helping each other improve.
Minh said although they shared a lot of memories, there was one that left a deep impression.
“I will never forget going to school together on a rainy day when we were in third grade. We fell together because the road was slippery.”
The duo have finished 12th grade and both of them got good scores in the national high school exams.
Hieu got a score of 28.15 while Minh got 28.10. This was a joint effort that created the motivation for them to realise their dreams.
“When I was in second grade, I felt sympathy for Minh and volunteered to carry him to school on my back. Minh give me more strength to accomplish what I want myself,” Hieu said.
“I think that if a person without any legs or a right arm like Minh is good at learning, then people like me who are able-bodied should help them do just that,” he said.
“I want to become an excellent doctor who can help Minh and other disadvantaged people.”
For Minh, he said he once dreamed of becoming a doctor. However, given his circumstances, he changed his mind.
“I hope that I am accepted by the Hanoi University of Science and Technology (HUST) to pursue IT because it’s relevant to me,” he said.
The story of Hieu and Minh has been hailed as a real-life fairy tale.
Nguyen Tai Quyen, the headmaster of Trieu Son 5 High School in Thanh Hoa Province where the friends have studied together for the past three years, said the boys had set an example for other students to follow.
“We are glad that both of them got high scores in the recent national high school exams.”
However, he said they were not surprised because they were always excellent students.
Both of them received Certificate of Merit from the Ministry of Education and Training. They also met and received gift from General Secretary, President Nguyen Phu Trong on a meeting with outstanding students of 2017-2018 school year.
While expressing his joy at his students' achievements, Quyen also expressed concern about Minh in his new environment.
He said he had contacted the school’s alumni who were students at HUST – the university Minh has applied to – to support Minh in the future.
The school was trying to assist Minh with an electronic wheelchair to make it easier for him to commute, Quyen said.
Quyen ’s concern is shared by Hoang Thị Ly, Minh’s mother, who said she couldn’t imagine how Minh would manage living away from home in a completely new environment.
“Over the past ten years, Minh has always had the companionship of the family and the care of his teachers, especially Hieu who is willing to carry him to school regardless of the weather,’’ she said.
Despite their financial difficulties, her family has decided to let Minh’s father accompany him while he studies in Hanoi.
Ly said that love and support from the family would help Minh overcome his challenges and adapt to his new environment soon.
In a month’s time, the two friends will go their separate ways, but Hieu said it wouldn’t prevent him from seeing Minh.
“I will try my best to arrange things so that I can be by Minh’s side as much as possible.”