How a simple act of kindness restores faith in humanity

Thanks to a vigilant cyclist in Mumbai, a lighting store owner found his wallet

October 12, 2020 10:57 am | Updated October 14, 2020 10:49 am IST

Chetan Patel and Vijay Malhotra

Chetan Patel and Vijay Malhotra

Last Saturday in Mumbai, Chetan Patel was out at 5:30 in the morning on his motorbike, zipping across from Andheri to Santa Cruz, approximately 7 kilometres away. “My friend was leaving town, and didn’t have money. The ATM near his place wasn’t working,” says the 25-year-old, who is part of a family that runs a lighting store in the city.

He lost his balance on a speed breaker, but regained it quickly and was on his way to his friend’s. There, he realised he had lost his wallet, and proceeded to cancel his debit card.

Behind him was a cyclist, Vijay Malhotra, who saw Chetan lose balance and also saw something drop. He came up from behind, picked up the wallet, and tried to chase Chetan, but was not able to catch up.

“After finishing my ride, I went home and tried to find his contact in his wallet,” says Vijay, who found the money and a driver’s license, besides the card in the wallet. “I searched for him on Facebook as per his name on the driving license, but could not find him.” He called a friend who suggested they contact the bank, where he himself had an account.

The HDFC relationship manager said he could not divulge customer details, but was happy to patch a call through. Once that was done, Chetan had his wallet back the same day, with about ₹6,000, his license and card.

“He’s the best guy ever,” says Chetan, of Vijay, who started Pedal and Tring Tring, a blog about cycling, fitness and the outdoors. He himself had lost a laptop last month, when he stepped out to feed the birds in front of his house, and someone entered and took it away. “Having suffered a loss myself, I could understand the pain of losing something valuable,” he says. He advocates for cyclists, who he says are always alert and aware of their surroundings.

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