At Mahatma Gandhi Memorial Government Hospital (MGMGH) which is located in Tamil Nadu's Tiruchirappalli, one can occasionally spot an autorickshaw bearing the sign 'COVID Help Auto'.
Two autorickshaw drivers, in the city, have taken it upon themselves to ferry the patients who have tested positive for coronavirus. They have been helping such patients travel to and fro from hospitals while ensuring the passengers follow necessary precautions.
According to The New Indian Express, two friends—Karthi and Mani decided to help the ones in need at a time when healthcare services have been reportedly overwhelmed and timely medical treatment is the need of the hour.
While most people are afraid to come near positive patients, these rickshaw drivers have been risking their lives to serve fellow human beings.
"I was passing by a private hospital last week and happened to see a person desperately looking for help. He had to take his mother to the government hospital for further treatment. Ambulances would take a while, so I decided to take them to the GH. That mother and son thanked me so much. Such a small effort of mine made such a big difference to them," said 45-year-old Mani.
In addition to this, his friend Karthi said that he too isn't scared and he has faith. Nevertheless, his wife and kids have been a little scared cautious since he has been helping in the transportation of COVID-19 patients.
Karthi shared that with the cases increasing, there was lesser availability of ambulances. It was difficult to ensure facilities for each and every patient. At times people needed to be shifted to COVID care centres or other private hospitals for a check-up.
"We even take them home after discharge. We don't charge extra, just take whatever they give. I'm not scared, I trust God," said Karthi.
Apart from their work life, both the auto drivers have additional responsibilities as well. Karthi has a daughter in college and a son who has just completed grade 12. His daily earning is helping him pay for the loans and rent for the vehicle. They visit the MGMGH hospital at least three times a day to help these patients.
Mani has been juggling twin responsibilities after he lost his wife six months back. He hopes to educate his daughter properly.
"I'm not scared of COVID, I've battled bigger monsters in life. I'm living with a rare disease, which I would not like to name. I just want to help others and be a good example for my daughter. I do take proper precautions, give the passengers hand wash, and ensure that they don't touch anything. It's important for both of our safety. I make enough to feed my daughter, that's all that matters," said Mani.
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