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Chinese Family Comes Under Fire for Tattooing Phone Number on Mentally Challenged Son’s Forearm

The parents of a mentally challenged boy attracted criticism for tattooing their home phone number on his arm, to make it easier for anyone who found him to contact them.

On the morning of July 22nd, police Wenzhou, China, received reports of a young boy walking aimlessly on the local highway. 10 minutes later, a police patrol spotted the boy, and after guiding him to safety, stopped their car to ask him some questions. It was clear from the very beginning that the child suffered from some sort of mental disability, as he was unable to provide basic information like his name or his age. After searching the boy for anything that could help them identify him, one of the officers noticed a series of numbers that appeared to have been scribbled on his forearm. It turned out to be a tattoo.

Photo: The Paper

It didn’t take long for the officers to figure out that the tattoo was a phone number, which they immediately dialed. Luckily, the boy’s mother picked up and she provided the policemen with the family address, so the boy was safely returned to his home.

Still, the officer couldn’t help ask the mother why she had opted to tattoo the phone number directly on the boy’s arm, as this was obviously not the most practical choice. As you can see in the picture above, at one point the family changed their phone number, so the old one had to be crossed out with the tattoo gun, and the new one tattooed underneath. This surely had caused the boy unnecessary suffering.

“The child is intellectually disabled, and she has our phone number tattooed on her forearm because of this,” the woman said.

Photo: The Paper

Officer Yang told Chinese newspaper The Paper that although he could see that the mother had meant well, her drastic decision didn’t make any sense to him. He advised people in similar situations to register the disabled person’s fingerprints with the police, or create a sturdy bracelet for them with contact information, instead of putting them through the unnecessary and painful tattooing process.

This story went viral on Chinese social media and got mixed reactions from users. Some said that no matter how worried the parents were, the tattoos were unnecessary, others described their solution as too extreme, while some users took their side, saying that in certain situations, tattoos like this can prove a viable last resort.

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