This past week, I was travelling in an Ola auto-rickshaw. The auto-rickshaw driver's name is Jagannath Patra — I will remember him for being a good Samaritan for a very long time.
I was in a rush so I forgot to pick up my mobile phone and wallet from the auto before I got off at my apartment. About 15 minutes later, when I searched for my phone, I realised I left it along with my wallet back in the auto. While my phone had its screen lock on, I had my credit cards and some cash in my wallet.
In the times we live in, anyone would be sceptical about the chances of getting back their valuables once they lost them at a random place. So, of course, I panicked a little, and suddenly, random scary thoughts crossed my mind — from filing an FIR for the missing phone to calling up customer care for disabling the sim card. I had so much going on in my head at that moment. While I was super hungry, I didn't feel like having my lunch until I was able to get my stuff back.
Okay, so my first reaction was to call Ola's customer care number to get in touch with the auto driver since I didn't know his number. But to my disappointment, the Ola app didn't have any such option as far as I know.
The next thing I needed to do was call the auto-rickshaw guy. But wait. It was a random auto-rickshaw and I wouldn't know his number. So, I called "my number" from another phone. He couldn't pick it up since my phone was on silent mode. Also, he was in the middle of noisy traffic anyway. But I wouldn't give up!
After several unanswered calls, he finally picked it up and I heaved a sigh of relief! Even though I was jittery he sounded pretty calm and relaxed, like the sweet voice of Jesus! He asked me to stay calm and assured me that my belongings were in safe hands.
I asked if he could come to my apartment to return my stuff immediately. He said he was already 15kms away from my location and he could come only after dropping a passenger. I said I'm ready to compensate for the trip and that he didn't need to worry about it. He told me to be assured that he would reach my location in the next 15-20 minutes. This put my mind at ease and I finally felt like grabbing my lunch.
He showed up at my apartment in time, introduced himself as Jagannath Patra, and handed over my stuff, offering me a new lease of life.
I had already decided to give him some cash reward, not only for helping me but for being such a rare individual as well. But to my surprise, he politely declined and requested a selfie with me instead! Maybe, he wanted to cherish the moment or something. I was already his fan so I happily obliged. I also clicked a picture of him while saving his number on my phone.
As he drove away, I decided to tell the world about it. After all, we don't get to see such compassionate folks very often, right? This story truly deserved to be spoken.
I tweeted about the story briefly inserting his photo, tagging Ola's handle, and then settled down for a nap. When I woke up, I was pleasantly surprised to see a tsunami of notifications on my Twitter app. It was quite a day! I decided to send some rewards his way for the attention his story was getting. So, I sent some money to him via the UPI app and shared a screenshot of his UPI id for his newfound fans from across the country.
In the next 24 hours, the tweet went viral and I decided to let him know he was getting the love and appreciation from people across the country. He was extremely happy to learn about the buzz around him and asked me to convey his gratitude towards his well-wishers. He also said that he had returned the belongings to a few other passengers in the past but this was the first time his action received such glowing acknowledgement from people he never knew before.
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