An auto rickshaw driver in Mumbai who was forced to drive around all day with his two-year-old son in his lap after his wife suffered a paralytic stroke, is thoroughly overwhelmed after good samaritans, reading of his plight in the media, decided to giving him a much-needed break.
Mohammad Saeed now has Rs 30,000 in his bank account in donations, hours after Mumbai Mirror decided to highlight his plight. The story of Saeed, a native of Gorakhpur in Uttar Pradesh, became viral after film director Vinod Kapri posted pictures of the auto driver and his son on Twitter. He later also posted bank account details to guide those who wanted to donate money to Saeed.
People have also offered to babysit Saeed's son Muzammil and daughter Muskaan, and his wife Yasmin, thankful for the generosity showed to her family, has offered to cook meals for her well wishers after she's back on her feet, Mirror reported. Among those who have reached out to him are Byculla MLA Waris Pathan, director Vidhu Vinod Chopra, and TV actor Naakul Mehta.
Saeed told Hindustan Times that he has received countless calls – from NGOs that offered help, anonymous do-gooders who wanted to give him money and doctors who promised to treat his wife free of cost.
"I received some money. I don't know how much it is; I will go to the bank and check. I also received countless calls from people who want to donate and help.Doctors have said they will treat my wife for free," he told the paper.
"I feel sorry for my son... he's just two and for someone so young, to travel in an autorickshaw for 10, 12 hours a day, it's sheer torture."
Saeed told Mirror that Muzammil would not stop crying, bothered by the heat and traffic, forced to ride all day long in the auto with his father. However, leaving him at home was impossible since Yasmin would not be able to look after him.
Saeed was allegedly also fined Rs 450 once by a traffic cop for carrying Muzammil in his lap.
"I feel sorry for my son... he's just two and for someone so young, to travel in an autorickshaw for 10, 12 hours a day, it's sheer torture. But he's handled it bravely so far," he told Mirror.
The family stays in a neighbour's shanty in Versova after they were thrown out of their own for failing to pay rent. Their current home is about 200 sq ft, accommodating 11 people.
Saeed said he is now going to admit Yasmin to a hospital to get her the treatment she needed.
"I know she will be alright. I thank the people of Mumbai for their support and blessings," he told Mirror.