Driver names auto ‘Khidmat’, offers free rides to those in need during the lockdown

55-year-old Ayaz Faquih and others like him come forth to ferry passengers in need to their destinations

rickshaw driver

Grim news from all corners of the country has been coming in all through the lockdown. Apart from Covid-19, there have been communal tensions rising in the country, pushing minorities on the sidelines and over the edge. There have been reports of the needy being denied help and not having enough in their power to help themselves. However, for each gloomy report, there is always one positive story that reinstates our faith in humanity. And one such is that of Ayaz Faquih, a 55-year-old autorickshaw driver who has proved that all heroes don’t wear capes.

An auto driver from the Uran Taluka, Faquih came up with an innovative idea to help the needy during the coronavirus induced lockdown, reported The Times of India. He named his three-wheeler ‘Khidmat’, meaning service (to the people) and till date has provided over 150 free rides to those who were in need at Uran. Faquih doesn’t plan to stop anytime soon. At the start of the lockdown at the behest of a charitable trust, Faquih, who lives with his wife, a teacher and his daughter, a student in the ninth grade, got the permission to ferry essential items, like food to various places at Uran.

Speaking to TOI he said, “I stay at Uran city, where there are many hospitals and clinics. When the lockdown began last month, I used to see several persons stranded on the roads trying to reach their destinations somehow. Many were patients, senior citizens, medical staff who found it rather tough to walk long distances in the hot weather. That is why I decided to call my auto as ‘Khidmat’ and start giving free rides to stranded people.”

A known face in Uran, Faquih also started dropping his mobile number to local hospitals and dispensaries and requesting the administration to call them if they needed his services.

“It was heartrending to see old people, pregnant ladies, even those recovering from appendix surgery walking on empty roads as there was no public transport available; and even private vehicle owners were scared to offer lift to them due to the fear of coronavirus. Hence, me and ‘Khidmat’ would try to assist the locals,” he added.

He said, “Once a woman called me to take her to another hospital in Panvel taluka and later return back. I took her as it was rather urgent for her. She offered to pay at least for the CNG refill, but I simply told her that ‘Khidmat’ and I are happy doing this free of charge.”

When asked if there is any health risk involved in doing this social service work, Ayaz commented, “I strictly follow social distancing and ensure that my passengers are wearing masks, and not seated very close to each other.”

It isn’t just Faquih who’s playing good Samaritan. P Jayaprakash (51) who has been an auto-driver for the past 25 years, has been providing free rides to pregnant women, ferrying them to and fro between hospitals amid the lockdown. He told The New Indian Express, “I have posted my contact number on all social media platforms along with a message asking people to inform others about the free ride I offer to those in need. I will offer rides to those who are in a 25-km radius in Gudalur.”

In Mumbai’s Ghatkopar, a Shital Sarode, a rickshaw driver, too is doing her bit by offering free ride the distressed. Speaking to ANI, Shital said, “I am driving auto-rickshaw in lockdown so that I can help the people in this difficult time. I feel happy. I am not doing this work for money. Prior to lockdown, I was driving rickshaw and earned money for my family. But now I am driving auto-rickshaw for social service and to help the people in need.”



It is heartening to note that autorickshaw drivers are daily wage earners and due to the stoppage of transportation, they have been robbed of their income. To see some of them come ahead and help those in need and thinking of their fellow citizens before themselves shows the true spirit of humanity.


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