The enduring spirit of selflessness : The Tribune India

The enduring spirit of selflessness

The enduring spirit of selflessness

Photo for representational purpose only. - File photo

Pushpender Singh Gusain

IN the mid-1990s, a colleague went to California for training. He was not aware that a taxi could be hired there only through a phone call to a taxi stand. He waited for it at the roadside and gestured in vain to every passing taxi. Fortuitously, after a long wait, a cab stopped a few yards away, close to a department store. He followed it and asked the driver to drop him off. The driver explained to him that it was her day off and the taxi was not available for hire. She added that she had come for shopping at the store. However, she agreed to drop him off afterwards.

She eventually drove him to his destination. He thanked her profusely and asked about the fare. My colleague was startled when she refused to charge for the ride on the plea that she was off duty. He took her photo to cherish her memory and also showed it to me.

I narrated this incident to another US-returned colleague. He also had an interesting experience. After landing in San Francisco, he was scanning the charts providing details about free bus service from the airport. A man who had come to pick up his friends enquired about my colleague’s destination. On being told about it, he offered to drop him off as the place was on his route, only if he could wait for a while as his friends’ flight was about to land.

The colleague was hesitant to take a favour from a stranger. He thanked him and politely declined the offer. The man understood his dilemma and told him not to worry, while introducing himself as a Pakistani student. This clinched the issue and the offer was accepted.

A piquant situation arose on the arrival of the flight. The car had a capacity of five, while the number of passengers was six. The way out was that one of them would have to occupy the boot of the car. My colleague volunteered for it, but his offer was brushed aside on the plea that he was a guest. Ultimately, one of the four men who had just landed got ‘booted’. The driver then dropped off my colleague at a motel before taking his leave.

A couple of decades ago, I, along with my wife and one-year-old son, was returning to Chandigarh from Manali. Our bus stopped at a roadside dhaba near Ghanauli (Ropar) for dinner. We had meals and got milk filled in a bottle for the child. The dhabawala charged reasonably for the meals, but declined to accept any payment for the milk. When questioned, he explained that he never charged for baby milk. His noble gesture was in stark contrast to the tendency of many dhabas along highways to fleece customers.

A big salute to all who help others and silently keep performing selfless acts. These people bring the best of humanity to the fore. May God make their tribe grow!

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