If you travel via a crowded local in Mumbai and get pickpocketed, there is a 90% chance that was the last time you will ever see your wallet.
But one Mumbai man is turning the tide.
For over ten years, 53-year-old Yatin Naik has been dedicatedly foraging through the station area and railway tracks of Andheri, to collect abandoned wallets by pickpockets after procuring the cash.
Naik not only collects them but also inspects it for any contact details of the owners. Once he finds it, he takes it upon himself to track the person down and return it to them personally.
His journey began ten years ago when he spotted an abandoned wallet at a public tap and contacted the owner, after sifting through its contents.
Speaking to the Times of India, the man recounted the experience saying, “I picked it up and soon found another wallet. This got me thinking. I wondered if I could start tracking down their owners on my own as the police are anyway overburdened with cases. I started looking for addresses on identity cards and dialling MTNL to get the commuter’s landline number. Sometimes, I would write letters to commuters.”
Yatin has also created a network of ragpickers, sweepers, beggars and gangmen, who collect any such discarded wallets on the tracks and later hand them over to him.
When asked what motivates him to do this selflessly, Naik, a resident of Khetwadi says, “I do it for the blessings and the smiles.”
Speaking to the publication, he also says how losing a wallet isn’t merely about the money at most times. Many individuals who get robbed have priceless memories in the form of belongings in these wallets.
“They have pictures of their families, drawings made by their kids, besides government identity cards and ATM cards. Pickpockets don’t care for these,” he told TOI.
The man finds at least two to three discarded wallets every day. He has also recorded the details of every person he has helped over the years in a large diary. He is currently filling his third diary; as the other two are full of names, contact numbers and photographs of the commuters, he has helped.
“It feels good to sit and go through the pages sometimes,” he says.
Though he earns his livelihood with an annual directory of sugar factories in the state, his true calling is in helping people get their wallets back says Naik.
He dedicates three to four hours every evening for the selfless task.
“I run around to gather advertisers and sponsors for the directory. But my heart lies in finding and returning commuters’ wallets. There have been times when commuters touch my feet or start sobbing on getting their wallet back. At times, they call me back for help if a friend or relative has lost his wallet. I have limited resources and haven’t been able to venture out of Andheri,” he told TOI.
We hope the Railways takes notice of this selfless man and many more individuals are inspired to replicate his act of kindness outside Andheri too!
Feature Image Credit: Times of India.