Money can be an extremely powerful tool, as evidenced by this story from China. A man who had been in a coma for over a year finally woke up after catching a whiff of some cold, hard, cash.

Xiao Li, 30, of Shenzhen had been in a coma since August 2013. He reportedly fainted in an internet cafe after spending nearly a week without sleep researching business ideas. Doctors had tried multiple approaches to revive him, but nothing worked until they asked his family for advice. According to Dr. Liu Tang, “We had asked his family what really drove him, and they were very clear that it was money. When we learned about his fondness for money, we experimented with notes and change."

When nurses crumpled a new 100 yuan (~$16 USD) bill under his nose, Xiao Li suddenly began twitching his fingers as he tried to grab the cash, and then he woke up. "It was extraordinary,” said Dr. Liu Tang. “I’ve never seen anything like it in 20 years as a doctor.” He attributes the shocking response to the powerful impact that memories of smell and sound can have on the mind.

When a prosecutor discovers he has months to live, can he turn his life around and tear down corruption? Find out in the gripping melodrama Punch:

Xiao Li is still in the hospital undergoing treatment and regaining his motor skills, but his doctor says that he is recovering well.

What do you think of his surprising recovery? If seeking money put him in a coma in the first place, it might be time to seek a new love.