Three Short Rickshaw Stories & Generosity
Posted by Ram Upadhyay on May 18, 2013
Three Amazing Rickshaw Stories...
Yesterday a few friends and I began sharing auto-rickshaw stories. Now it is common in India to complain about how rude and corrupt rickshaw drivers are. However our stories revealed a very different side to these people who ferry us across busy, smoke filled roads each day.
The first story was shared by a friend who said that he has made it a practice to give every rickshaw driver TWICE the amount he is asked for. Once when he did this the driver was very confused and asked him why he was giving him twice the fare. My friend replied, "I would like you to keep the money, and if ever you see an old or sick person needing a ride on a hot day, if you wish you could give them a free ride with this extra money". The driver was moved beyond words. He actually waited at the same place and when my friend finished his work he again offered him a ride. When they reached the destination he refused to accept any money and said that people had always treated him like a cheat, but today his heart had been deeply touched and the feeling he was experiencing within was priceless.
The second story was shared by another friend who described a happy rickshaw driver with a fare meter which did not work. A young lady got into his rickshaw and complained that his meter was not working. He smiled and said she could pay him whatever she felt was fair. She complained that this what all rickshaw drivers say and then they overcharge once they reach the destination. She said who would not pay any more than Rs. 20. He smiled and said that even if she did not pay anything that would be okay. She was surprised and said maybe she would really do that! She began asking about his family and how he managed if he gave people free rides and he said he was always supported somehow. They had a rich conversation. When they reached the destination she smiled and said that she had decided not to pay him anything. Unfazed, he laughed and said, "That's perfectly okay. I am always taken care of by the grace of God. Have a nice day!" So she walked away without paying anything! When the rickshaw driver looked behind he saw a Rs. 100 note neatly tucked into the seat. She was so moved that she had paid him five times the fare!
How very wonderful!!
And the third story is about a rickshaw driver in Ahmedabad called Udai-bhai who runs a "gift economy" auto service. His rickshaw is immaculately clean and equipped with drinking water and newspapers. Wherever he takes passengers, the meter always reads "zero". He tells them that their trip has been paid for by the passengers before them! He has been running this service six days a week for the last several years and it is amazing that with this pay-it-forward idea no one has taken undue advantage of him and his service is still running!
We shared several other stories as well, all so touching and true, about instances where we had been touched and grateful to auto drivers. Isn't it time to re-examine our assumptions about them? Isn't it time to see them as our brothers who serve us instead of always seeing them in a poor light. If we want to bring out the best in them we must first bring out the best in ourselves and see the best in them. They will certainly rise to the occasion.
Just wanted to share this as it moved me deeply (which is appropriate because rickshaws are all about having a moving experience!). The quality of our life experience is the quality of the stories we tell!
May you touch someone's life today!
May this be the happiest day of your life!
And so it is!
-- Nithya Shanti