A Dutch man has been taken to hospital with physical exhaustion after waiting 10 days for his Chinese "girlfriend" to meet him at an airport – only for her not to show up. Alexander Pieter Cirk's grand romantic gesture seems to have backfired as "Zhang" (his online lover) snubbed his phone calls.
The 41-year-old reportedly refused to leave a terminal at Changsha Huanghua airport, in Hunan Province, after his futile 3,000 mile voyage. Eventually he was taken to hospital suffering physical exhaustion, according to reports by Hunan TV.
According to Chinese media, Cirk met the 26-year-old on an online dating site two months ago before he decided to fly to the mountainous province in southern China. On arrival he realised no one had come to meet him but still missed his return flight – due to leave earlier this week – after he decided to wait for her to contact him back.
According to the BBC, Zhang contacted a TV channel a day after the report was aired by local broadcasters to say she had thought his appearance at her local airport had all been a joke. She added that she had actually been in another province having plastic surgery at the time so her phone was off.
"We had advanced our romantic relationship but later he seemed a little callous towards me," Zhang told Hunan TV. "One day he sent me a photo of air tickets abruptly and I thought it was a joke. He didn't contact me later."
Users of Weibo microblogging site became enthralled by the story – but did not show much sympathy. Trending under the hashtag "Foreign man went to Changsha to meet his online girlfriend", many were left perplexed by the lovestruck man's actions.
"He must be stupid, why would anyone do this?" said one user whilst another asked "Doesn't he know that everything in China is fake?".
Others were supportive of the gesture, with one asking: "What does this say about Chinese integrity?". But their maybe a happy ending after all as Zhang reportedly said she would be keen to meet him after her that when she recovers from her plastic surgery she was still interested in maintaining their relationship.