A clip of an Itaewon business owner, who witnessed the October 29 tragedy, and a police officer mourning together is breaking hearts.
The November 1 episode of MBC’s PD Note focused on the Itaewon crowd surge; a tragedy that took the lives of 156 people and injured 151.
In the episode, a man who owns a business in the alley where the tragedy took place was filmed paying his respects to those who lost their lives. The man, named Nam In Seok, is seen bringing out food on a tray and lighting incense before bowing in respect.
It is a traditional Korean mourning rite to offer food and light incense for the deceased.
According to a news article, Nam In Seok, who has owned the Milano Collection fashion store for over a decade, had opened his doors and rescued several injured during the tragedy but suffered from the guilt of not being able to save more. The business owner is seen breaking down in tears.
At that moment, a police officer who was overlooking the scene of the incident was seen attempting to intervene. Knowing full well that the police would try to preserve the tragic scene, the man still argued that even the police must make an exception for this very basic mourning rite.
You can’t do this. You have to allow it. This is the scene of the tragedy, so shouldn’t we feed these kids (deceased) a meal?
— Business Owner
When several other police officers attempted to remove the business owner’s offering, the man yelled for them to stop.
Eventually, both police officers and the business owner broke down in tears. A police officer could be seen consoling the man before crying with him.
Korean netizens reacted to the poignant scene by offering their own condolences. Many stated how the business owner’s humble gesture touched them.
- “Due to people like you, sir, I believe those who died needlessly may find some peace… The stars who light up this world are always normal citizens like him… Something this nation isn’t able to do…”
- “Due to people like you, I find myself reflecting one more time. I offer my deepest condolences.”
- “This is so sad. He just wanted to feed them one meal.”
- “Besides those in government who are actually at fault, the whole nation is mourning and desperately thinking of ways to help and doing everything they possibly can to help.”
- “Our nation’s elder’s way of showing affection and consoling us have always been through food. I can’t imagine how the business owner, who is trying to console those young souls with a meal in case they are unable to find peace, or the police officer, whose job, despite knowing this, is to intervene, must feel. This is too sad.”
You can watch the heartbreaking scene in the link below.