January 24th, 2015
MADURAI: National and international tourists travelling in India often fall easy preys to overcharging autorickshaw drivers. But here is an exemplary exception. Meenakshisundaram, an auto driver in Madurai offers 30% discount to foreigners and 20% to tourists from other states. A board on the vehicle reads: “Free for pregnant women, children, people aged above 70 years, differently abled and poor travelling to Government Rajaji Hospital.”
“I have been riding the autorickshaw for the last two years. Two months ago, I felt that I should do something good for the poor and started to offer free rides. Later, I decided to offer a discount to foreigners and people from other states after seeing them being fleeced by auto drivers like me,” he said.
Meenakshisundaram rides a share autorickshaw he has taken on rent and has to pay Rs 350 as daily rent. But this won’t deter him.
“It is a priceless gift for me when I see the happiness on the faces of children, elderly and differently abled people as they come to know that the trip is free. I get lots of satisfaction and blessings from unknown people”, he added.
Furthermore, the idea of offering a discount to foreigners did not go well with other drivers. Several of them opposed it. “But I like foreigners and the way they interact with us. I can make them feel good about the city with a small discount,” he added.
The Logical Indian salutes Meenakshisundaram’s selfless spirit that motivates him to spread happiness in his own little way. Unbothered by his financial problems, Meenakshisundaram has taken a step to go against the flow and earn the most valuable salary- true love and blessing. Not only this, by offering discounted rides to foreigners, he represents the lesser-seen side of our nation to them- the hospitable side which believes in ‘atithi devo bhava’ (The guest is equivalent to God). The nation and the world definitely need more Meenakshisundarams. Kudos!
Courtesy: Times of India