Story of a lost journalist

November 25, 2008

An auto trip, a kid and a jerk

Filed under: Diary — Cris @ 14:29


Yesterday after debating with self for a while about traveling in auto rickshaw (other choice being bus) I chose auto rickshaw reasoning that I was tired and needed a cup of home coffee before my next stop. The auto driver got a call as soon as I got in and he seemed to be in such panic that it got the attention of someone like me – who is generally accused of showing utmost indifference to surroundings even when a possible earthquake was in cue. Apparently a little girl, he must have really cared about had some kind of an accident. He kept yelling into the phone “So what to do now”. More than anything it showed that he was completely shaken. That’s the kind of thing we say when we don’t know what to do, and we worry ourselves to death over it.

The auto driver looked so not here, I was worried if he might drive both of us straight to the underside of a giant lorry or bus that came from the other side. The call was over and he turned to me and told me the story without being asked “Its my daughter. She just came back from school an hour back and went to play next door. And shes got her arm cut.” And I said “oh”. I figured out that much but didn’t know it was his daughter. I had a clue what was coming next. “Can you please help me a little?”. And I knew this was financial, cause I heard him say “I have just some 20 with me, now what do we do?”

I kept quiet. I was calculating furiously. I might have some extra 10 or 20 with me, and that was supposed to last my next trip. But what if he was lying? What if he was making this story up with the help of an accomplice on phone to trick me into paying up. But I somehow knew he wasn’t. The panic in his voice was real, the concern in his attitude was that of a really worried Father. I got down. I said “its usually 15, I will give 20?”.

“Madam please can you give at least 30?”

I took 30 and gave him, thinking in mind, ok there goes the money I saved by taking bus in the morning and what I could use to go to my next stop. “Here. And your daughter will be all well, don’t worry”. I was talking like I just made a 1000-dollar contribution. And he said “Ok I will return it Madam”

I felt like a jerk cause I had first asked him “is this really true or are you tricking me” and even after that I just gave a meager 30 when the man probably needed thousands. Well I was no Richie Rich. I told him “No its ok don’t return it.”

To compensate, I walked to my next stop. But I kept feeling like a jerk. I could have at least given him a 50… I wonder how his daughter is doing today. She has got to do well, I hope she is up and jumping like she was, day before yesterday. And I hope she will be really careful next time. I hope all kids will be.



  1. I can understand how you feel. But I guess this happens. Many a times we can’t verify the credentials and will have to follow our gut feeling..Anyway let’s hope she is doing well..

    Comment by Dhanya — November 25, 2008 @ 20:28 | Reply

  2. Aww. Don’t beat yourself up dear. I agree with dhanya. Especially, nowadays we cannot say for sure if they are faking it or not. But this case does sound a bit swindl-y to me. I’m getting a serious sense of dishonesty about this driver(but then, i wasn’t there, so i wouldn’t know) I don’t know why. If he was an honest guy, i don’t think he’ll waste time asking a total stranger for money(he’s a stranger, isn’t he?) He’ll ask one of his auto buddies, don’t u think? But I would’ve done the same thing. I’m a sucker at things like that(even if my mind’s yelling “Nnnnnoooo!”) If its true, i hope u’r money, as less as it was would do him and his daughter some good.

    Comment by M.Rose — November 26, 2008 @ 00:41 | Reply

  3. **I would’ve done the same thing** -I would’ve given him the money

    Comment by M.Rose — November 26, 2008 @ 00:44 | Reply

  4. At that moment, you did what you could ! You indeed are thinking about it all and it impacting you in some form ! The next time perhaps would be different !

    Follow your heart !

    Comment by Kavi — November 26, 2008 @ 22:38 | Reply

  5. cris chechi is the best;

    Comment by Vishnu Kuttan — November 27, 2008 @ 14:25 | Reply

  6. Cris u did well. As a doc I had to shell out money to Pts several times as I posted in “Doctor paying patient” Many a time it is genuine need. Most often heard reason is purse picked in bus. So money is given for buying medicines or the return bus fare.Many return it some as late as an year. Early in my career I was duped a few times by strangers/patients with medical sob stories losing considerable amount of money in the process.

    Comment by Charakan — November 27, 2008 @ 17:58 | Reply

  7. Yeah..!! I can understand.. It’s quite a fix.
    With these people you never know when they lie… But if it’s real then it’s really sad….
    Jerks make a fuss to give even that 30, i’ve seen many… So stop worrying..:)

    Just cam across ur blog randomly… I like the way u write.. 🙂


    Comment by Arjun — November 29, 2008 @ 13:40 | Reply

  8. At the most how much will you give, also you being a stranger ? Some 100-250. What to do with it if his daughter is seriously ill ? Nothing ! First thing a father will do, If he need money urgently, is to borrow from a friend or a relative (note he had a phone, so every one is in his reach). He will not think he will ask a passenger while or after the trip. First he will rush to the place. But I agree most of us get perplexed when seeing tears and agony.

    Anyway you did a good job. Most probably, 60% of what you gave will go to the Govt, which will be used for the development of our nation. Thanks to the Kerala State Beverages Corporation Limited.

    Comment by manu — November 30, 2008 @ 19:29 | Reply

  9. Deja vu!! Reminds me SO MUCH of my Food for thought!

    But what’s the point of giving Rs 100/- for a minor cut in the arm? It’s no huge accident or anything. I don’t think the guy was tricking your, btw. He might’ve been honest, and I appreciate you for paying the extra Rs 20. 😀

    Way to go, sis. And apologies for my absence from this blog. Probs at home. 😐

    Comment by Hari — December 1, 2008 @ 13:13 | Reply

  10. @Dhanya, quite true, and the fact is if I had more money with me I’d prolly have given it. But I cant really hope my gut feeling was right – cause then it will mean hoping injury for a small child was real!

    @M.Rose, yeah thats there. But I thought since the call came when I was in there, you know he just asked the first person he could. He’d prolly ask others. I have no clue.

    @Kavi, yes that seems the only possible solution, if I hadnt given whatever I could at that point, I’d prolly end up guilty for days.

    @VK, thanks kiddo 🙂

    @Charakan, thats a really nice thing to do – helping out poor patients. Not many docs do that.

    @Arjun, yea you never know, you just have to do what you feel is right at that point of time even if it turns out to be wrong later! Thanks for visitng Arjun 🙂

    @manu, I dont know. When you suddenly find yourself in trouble, you’d find yourself doing crazy things, anything to find a way out of the trouble – I might have done the same if I was the worried father – ask the next person I saw – getting any money for an ailing daughter might prolly be the only thing in mind.

    @Hari, I dont think it was as small as a cut bro :-). Me too been not good with blogs. Will visit your blog to read Food for thought.

    Comment by Cris — December 1, 2008 @ 23:27 | Reply

  11. Sis, you’d read Food for thought, and commented too! 😉

    Comment by Hari — December 4, 2008 @ 11:55 | Reply

  12. @Hari, ohh :D!!

    Comment by Cris — December 5, 2008 @ 23:45 | Reply

  13. Lots of times I have felt cheated myself. Let me send you a link. You might understand it better then.
    Also Not Giving When You Know You Should: A Haunting Story

    Comment by Bimal — May 1, 2009 @ 11:54 | Reply

  14. @Bimal, thanks for dropping by. Will check those links!

    Comment by admin — July 15, 2009 @ 03:26 | Reply

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