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Updated: June 7, 2011 09:18 IST

Honesty was his auto-matic choice

Deepa Kurup
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BEST POLICY: Auto driver M.T. Suresh told his grateful passenger that there are good and bad people in all professions, including his. Photo: K. Gopinathan
The Hindu BEST POLICY: Auto driver M.T. Suresh told his grateful passenger that there are good and bad people in all professions, including his. Photo: K. Gopinathan

How many would have returned a forgotten wad of Rs.70,000?

It was with mixed feelings that auto driver M.T. Suresh heard out a gentleman from Kolkata who said he never expected to see his cash, laptop or documents again.

When the 35-year-old, an ITI diploma holder who has been driving an auto for the past 11 years, contacted the police station to report that a customer had left behind a bag, containing a laptop, Rs. 70,000 in cash and many important-looking documents, the police were impressed. His customer, who he had dropped at the B.V.K. Iyengar Road, had indeed filed a police complaint. However, given the cynical times we live in, the man, who had come to Bangalore for his son's MBA admission, feared the worst.

Both good and bad

“I told him, ‘Sir, all people are not the same. Like in other professions, in mine too there is good and bad.' There are many like me who return forgotten valuables and help the aged and disabled. I'm not the only one. I know of many other drivers who have returned larger sums of money, but people don't talk about them,” said Mr. Suresh. “Many of us are educated and can work in factories and offices; but we choose to do this as a profession,” he adds.

Media portrayal

Mr. Suresh is convinced the media has a role to play here. “I have noticed that when an auto driver steals from or [fights] with a customer, it makes headlines. However, when we return valuables, save lives or do good deeds, nobody writes about it. Why is it so?” he asks, and proceeds to answer it himself.

The media often highlights the travails of commuters because they feel that is their audience. “Little is said about our issues, how we have to deal with the police and how we grapple to meet ends meet,” he says.

No training

Instead, can the media or even the Government look at how to help us, he asks. He points out that unlike other professions, there is absolutely no training given to them. “We are an integral part of the public transport system, so why not invest in training us or in building a support system for us?” he said.

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