Sometimes, the experience of riding in an auto can be quite nightmarish. Even if the driver agrees to take you to your destination (after you beg and plead), getting him to switch on the meter, slow down or give you change can be a battle.
Yet, auto drivers can be lifesavers too, sometimes quite literally. Such as this driver from Chennai who saved his passenger's life by rushing him to treatment and then mortgaging his own auto.
A few months ago, K Ravichandran, 48, was driving along Mount Road, when his passenger suffered a cardiac arrest. "I heard and saw him wailing in pain, holding his chest," he told the New Indian Express.
The auto driver quickly took his 57-year-old passenger to a nearby clinic.
He was then moved to the Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital where the doctors said that there were three blocks in the blood vessels in his heart and a pace-maker had to be implanted immediately.
The cost of treatment and the pace maker, which was about Rs 1 lakh, was reduced to ₹47,000, but the passenger’s son, who flew from Kolkata to Chennai that night, had only ₹15,000.
Ravichandran, without thinking twice, decided to pay off the balance by pledging his auto. It was the only property he owned.
On Sunday, Ravichandran was rewarded by the Anna Auto Welfare Trust, an organisation which works to give recognition to auto rickshaw drivers.
For the first time, an appreciation line has been launched in Chennai for autorickshaw drivers in city. This enables customers to register their appreciation for any driver who has done an exemplary job.
"We want this initiative to grow. All a customer has to do is text the vehicle number of the autorickshaw driver who was courteous to our appreciation line (9243000111). The vote will be registered and the drivers with the most goodwill votes will be awarded every month," said Anil Khicha, founder of the Anna Auto Welfare Trust.
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