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Friday, December 09 2022
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Auto ‘uncle’ who made a difference!

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There is still lot of goodness in the world, probably we just fail to see it around. We complain about the Good Samaritans being a shrinking tribe simply because they may be doing small good deeds, which may be going unnoticed.

It was this small deed by a Good Samaritan that I opt to recall and pay obeisance to.

It was a chilly evening on January 3 as my friends and I got ready to attend a common friend’s wedding slated to be solemnised at a venue at Bajal, on the outskirts of the city.

At about 6.45 pm our ‘girl gang’ left the house in Mangaluru city and waited on the roadside to get an auto.

While we waved at every auto passing by, we were only told that it was late and that the autos would not get passengers on their way back. So basically the autos in the city refused to ferry us to our destination.

Decked up but heartbroken ‘girl gang’ unanimously decided to walk down the road to an auto stand hoping that some ‘Good Samaritan’ autowalla would agree to help us out.

We know of auto drivers demanding exorbitant fares as greedy people trying to eke out extra ‘moolah’ from passengers and also know of auto drivers become notorious because of their unruly behaviour. But, I have also read of autowallas returning bags with huge amounts and jewellery to the legitimate owners. I was hoping to see another class of auto drivers who would sympathise with us and agree to take us to the wedding venue.

As we walked down ignoring all the eyeballs that followed us, we reached the auto stand. But, to our dismay the autowallas that evening had a ready-made answer- ‘No’, ‘Sorry’ etc etc.

We realised that it was around 7.15 pm and we were still in the city looking for an auto.

While nothing struck our minds, we saw a lone auto parked at a distance. Keeping our fingers crossed we walked up to the auto and shot the question- ‘Is the auto free?’

A man in his fifties looked at us and asked us where exactly we wanted to go.

‘Padil’, we reluctantly said because after so many rejections, we had worked on plan-B of telling him about a nearest location to Bajal and then make him drive us down to the venue.

Instantly, the auto driver agreed, with his conditions applied.

He told us that we would have to pay Rs 200 one way. We were five and we instantly agreed to the deal. We did not feel that he was keeping forth any unreasonable demand.

As we proceeded, the man struck a conversation with us and during the course of the conversation we told him that we do not have the means to return at 11 pm.

We inquired him if he could pick us back from the venue.

After a pause, he told us that he lives at Urwa Store, which is at the other end of the city and travelling back to Bajal is a herculean task.

“However, since you have no means to depend on, I will do this for you, but you would have to pay me Rs 400 for the trip,” he said.

We agreed.

At about 11 pm, after finishing our dinner, I rung him up on his mobile. By 11.45 pm, he safely dropped us home. On our way back, he did tell us about how unsafe the city has become and how we should be careful while we venture out of home in the nights.

He narrated some unreported incidents about girls facing abuse in the city, which really shocked us.

There was a tone of concern in his voice. We appreciated the fact that he lent us a helping hand when we needed it the most.

We paid him the promised Rs 400 after he dropped us home. While he went his way, we returned home safely.

It is not an incident, which would catch someone’s attention unless they have faced the same situation. It was not a task that some autowalla in the city could not do. But, I see a Good Samaritan in this auto ‘uncle’ because he did something that made a big difference to us at that point of time.

Yes, indeed he charged us more than what the metre would have read, but at the end of the day he is also striving to make his both ends meet and for all the trouble he took to ferry us to and fro, the amount he charged was nominal. What mattered was his act and his concern for a bunch of strangers. Even if the man had asked for Rs 500 or even more, out of desperation, we would have paid him that, but we realised that he was being reasonable.

This autowalla for me and for my friends will always remain to be a ‘Good Samaritan’.

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