At first glance, 42-year-old Prabhat Pradhan may seem like your average rickshaw driver in Bhubaneswar, but a day in his life will tell you just how extraordinary he is. For the poor who can’t afford to ride in his auto, Prabhat has been nothing short of a saviour. In the last 20 years, he has offered a ride to over 7,000 people, completely free of cost!
“Work is god. Physically handicapped, elderly persons and accident victims can avail free transport in my vehicle” – this is what’s printed at the back of his auto, and Prabhat swears by it.
Picture for representation only. Source: Wikimedia
Naturally, this good deed does leave a dent in his pocket. He is a father of two kids and only manages to earn Rs 500 a day. “Every day, I ferry at least two to four needy passengers for free. But I do not give free service to all. Driving this auto is my only source of income. Since Bhubaneswar is close to my house, I come here daily for work,” he told TOI.
It all started 20 years ago, when Prabhat was on his way home one night and spotted a man who had just met with an accident, pleading for help. Although a crowd had gathered at the spot, no one came forward to help the man. But neither did Prabhat. When he later found out that the man had succumbed to his injuries, Prabhat was deeply impacted. Two decades later he is determined about the kind of help he wants to extend to the needy and has no regrets. Fuel expense too doesn’t bother him. If he’s lucky, a few generous people help him out with the financial support he needs.
Not only does Prabhat’s wife extend her full support to him, the residents of Niali, where he lives, also have only good things to say about him. He is nothing short of a celebrity there. One of the neighbours, Pabitra Sahoo, told TOI, “We are proud of him. It is unusual to find people like him these days. He has never turned down requests of people in a crisis.”