|He can be, without doubt, termed Gujarat’s best ambassador of tourism. Donning a Gandhi topi, a khadi kurta and carrying the Mahatma’s message: Be the change… on his auto-rickshaw, Udhaysinh Ramlal Jadav believes in the principle of ‘atithi devo bhav’ and goes that extra mile to treat his customers as God.Udaybhai was like any other rickshaw driver for 10 years. Until few months ago when his life changed. On his regular trips to the Gandhi Ashram, he saw volunteers of Manav Sadhna rendering selfless service to the needy. Inspired by their endeavour, he decided to follow the principles of the Father of the Nation in word and deed.To make the journey of his customers comfortable, Amdavad no Rickshawalo, as he likes to call himself, has provided for a mini library in the auto, with books on heritage, on tourist places of visit in the city, pilgrimage sites in the state, besides English and Gujarati newspapers.
An MP3 player will provide you with a choice of songs to listen to and there’s a small fan for the summer months. If you are hungry, there are two boxes containing snacks and drinking water. A dustbin to throw the remains has also been provided in the auto. If the journey at night is long, he has installed a portable light for your reading pleasure.The exterior of the auto also attracts attention. On the front is painted, ‘Love all’, while the mudguard displays the religious symbols of Hindu, Muslim, Sikh and Christian communities, which Udhaybhai says “is to convey the message that everyone is equal”. On the side he has hung a board that says in Hindi and English, “Namaste and welcome to Ahmedabad. I am Udhay and at your service. I will take you on a journey of Ahmedabad’s streets and across its bustling bridges to experience Gandhi’s legacy and architectural masterpieces…” The message ends with his mobile number and website name: movedbylove.org.
However, the most impressive thing about Udhaybhai, who is in his 40s, is that he doesn’t charge his customers according to the meter. At the end of the journey, he hands over a cover to the passenger and the person can put whatever he deems fit.
When asked if it doesn’t pinch him since he comes from a poor background, he says, “I have no complaints. Whatever I earn at the end of the day, I use it to run my household. But I will continue to treat my guests with respect and make them feel at home.”
The Good Samaritan has also put a donation box in his auto, where passengers can deposit money. He puts a number of coins daily in the box. This he uses to help needy people. Besides, he keeps sets of clothes in his vehicle which he provides to those who don’t have any or wear tattered clothes.
One of his regular customers is a doctor who has partial vision. Udhaybhai ferries him to his destination each day and the doctor deposits money in his cover. To better his service, Udhaybhai has kept a suggestion book for his passengers.
Article Contribution : Tadrash Shah
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