Rakesh Tiwari, a taxi driver, was on his way back home, when he discovered that the belongings of a foreign student interning with Moneylife Foundation were left behind. He travelled about 15kms in opposite direction to return them
In an incident that can figure easily in the ‘Atithi Devo Bhava’ (the guest is equivalent to God) campaign, Rakesh Tiwari, a taxi driver from Mumbai went out of his way to return the personal belongings of a foreign student left behind in his taxi. Here is how Leanne Truong, a student from Australia’s University of Western Sydney, interning with Moneylife Foundation, narrates her ‘Athithi Devo Bhava’ moment…
“After a meeting on 30 June 2015, at about 7pm, I got into a taxi at Dadar to go to meet all my friends at a Starbucks in Colaba. The taxi driver, Rakesh Tiwari, was extremely friendly. He told me stories and joked with me the whole way there. About an hour after arriving at my destination, I realised that I had left some of my personal items in his taxi. Luckily, he had provided me his card so I tried calling him. However, we could not converse over the phone due to the language barrier so I quickly ran to the staff at my friend’s hotel and they spoke to him on my behalf.
Once they finished speaking with him, they told me that he was on the train back home and had been on the train for half an hour. However, Rakesh told them that he would get off the train and come back to Churchgate Station, where he had parked his taxi, to see if my personal items were in his car. Within the next hour, he was outside my friends’ hotel with my bag.
He offered to drive me home and by this time, it was close to 9.30pm. He told me how he lived at Nalasopara, about two hours away from Churchgate and I felt guilty yet completely honoured and grateful that he returned just to check if my items were in his car.
I cannot believe how lucky I was that he had given me his business card. More than that, I cannot believe how kind of a person he is that he would return to Churchgate station when he was already half an hour into his trip home purely to confirm that my items were in the taxi. Furthermore, from my understanding, he had to wake up at 5am next morning to come back to Churchgate for work again.
This man is one of the kindest men I have met in Mumbai. Before arriving in India, I heard many terrible stories all convincing me that I should be wary of the local people. All my family and friends were terrified that I was going to India. However, since arriving in India, I have not received anything but kindness from the locals.
It has been an honour for me to cross paths with a man like Rakesh. He is truly an inspirational human being doing a great service for India. People like him will give India the great name that it deserves. I also know that this is not the first time that Rakesh has done things like this, for both foreigners and locals alike. I wish him all the best, and I hope you can all join me in celebrating his kindness by forwarding this story to as many people as possible.”