Chennai auto driver who mortgaged his own auto to save his customer’s life

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Chennai auto rickshaw driver’s gesture to a passenger puts to rest all standard images people have of them. It seemed more like ‘stuff dreams are made of’.

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K Ravichandran (48) who was taking a passenger from Bengal in his auto mortgaged his own auto to meet the medical expenses after his passenger suffered a cardiac arrest midway.
The incident happened a few months ago. On Sunday, Ravichandran along with 16 other auto rickshaw drivers, including three women, were rewarded for their good samaritan deeds by the Anna Auto Welfare Trust, the organisation which works to motivate autorickshaw drivers.
Ravichandran doesn’t remember the exact date. “It must be a couple of months ago. A passenger, aged about 57 years boarded my vehicle from Ramapuram to go to a mansion in Triplicane. When we were moving along Mount road, I heard and saw him wailing in pain, holding his chest. I took him to a nearby clinic,” the auto driver from Old Washermanpet recalled.
The elderly passenger was subsequently referred to the Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital where doctors, after tests said the patient required immediate attention.
“They said that there were three blocks in the blood vessels on his heart and a pace-maker had to be placed immediately,” Ravichandran said.
Though the passenger’s son arrived from Kolkatta that night by flight, Ravichandran had to ensure the patient got immediate treatment. The cost of treatment and the pace maker, which was about Rs 1 lakh was reduced to Rs 47,000 after talks with the Dean.
“The passenger’s son had only Rs 15,000 after spending on the flight tickets. Plus, I learnt that they were not affluent. I decided to pledge my autorickshaw, the only property I owned and managed to pay the balance,” says Ravichandran nonchallantly.
Anil Khicha, founder of the Anna Auto Trust said people who came from other states to Chennai first met autorickshaw drivers; and their behaviour towards the passengers created a general impression about the city.
“When this kind of good work they do are appreciated, it will be a boost to them to do better. This Trust was formed with such an idea,” Anil added.
The trust also printed 5,000 stickers with a message, “If you had a good ride, acknowledge by SMS”. The passengers could SMS to 9243000111 their feedback on the experience with a particular driver. They need to type Auto Anna Vehicle No and send the SMS to the number mentioned.
“We collect all this feedback data, call those drivers, if they have behaved well with the passengers and did not fleece, we will honour them with an award in a small function every month,” said Anil Khicha.
Source – The New Indian Express

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