Thursday, October 29, 2009


Call it positive contagion. On Wednesday morning, yet another city auto driver chose to return the bag a passenger left behind in his auto. Except, that he wanted to hand over the bag to its owner not in a police station but in the Bangalore Mirror office!

Forget something in an auto and consider it gone forever. But, as Sreelathadevi Amma, a native of Kottayam in Kerala, discovered in the city on Wednesday, there can be exceptions. Anthony Raj, a 35-year-old auto driver from Rajarajeshwarinagar, promptly decided to return a bag containing cash close to Rs 10,000, seven credit cards, banks documents, educational certificates and personal documents that Sreelathadevi had left behind in Anthony’s auto.
On Wednesday morning, Anthony walked into Bangalore Mirror’s office in Chamarajpet and handed over the bag to its owner. Anthony who previously handed over forgotten articles back to their owners through the police was not happy with the way the system worked. “I was not happy with the way they were delivered back to owners. I have been reading Bangalore Mirror and its reports about good auto drivers’ efforts. So I thought Bangalore Mirror was the best channel to hand over the bag. Other drivers in my autorickshaw stand too advised the same. I immediately informed the owner of the bag too to come to Bangalore Mirror’s office in Chamarajpet,” Anthony said.
Sreelathadevi had come down to the city a week ago to secure admission for her daughter in a city-based ayurveda college. Work done, on Tuesday evening, she was preparing to go back to Kottayam and decided to go shopping near Forum Mall in Koramangala. “On Tuesday night I was scheduled to leave for Kottayam and I thought let me do a little bit of shopping before leaving. Along with a couple of relatives, we hired an auto to Forum Mall in Koramangala. At around 5:00 pm we got down near Star Bazar near Forum Mall,” she told Bangalore Mirror. “But only on entering the mall did I realise that I had forgotten my bag containing cash, credit cards bank documents, bank locker keys and, most importantly, the defence card of my husband. I almost collapsed and soon rushed to Adugodi police and filed a complaint,” she added.
In the meantime, auto driver Anthony, who dropped Sreelathadevi at Forum Mall, picked up another passenger and left to KHB Colony. “While dropping the passenger at KHB Colony, he alerted me about the bag,” said Anthony. On reaching home at Ramohalli near Rajarajeshwarinagar, Anthony and his wife searched the bag for the lady’s address, only to discover that all the identity cards had a postal address but no telephone numbers. “But at last in one of the pouches inside the bag we found a visiting card of Mutthoot Jewelleries and on it the lady’s name and contact number. Immediately - it was 11:00 pm then - I called up the lady and informed her about the safe custody of bag and assured her that I would return it the next morning,” he added.
For Sreelathadevi, it was almost like a miracle. It was like a divine intervention. “I could not understand what he was telling as he was speaking in Kannada and Tamil. But I heard something about my lost bag and I handed over the phone to my relatives who knew Kannada. Generally, no auto driver would return anything. But this driver was so different,” she said.
It was not the first time that Anthony Raj returned goods he has found in his auto. On four previous occasions he has done so. “What I earn is more than enough for my family to live. I don’t want an extra paisa,” Anthony, who was studying BA in Christ College but dropped out due to family problems, said. Appreciating Anthony’s honesty, Sreelathadevi’s family gave him Rs 1,000.


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