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This Hero Turns His Auto Into An Ambulance
He works two jobs to make a living. He doubles up his auto as an ambulance during any time of the night
Around five years ago, in the wee hours of the morning, Manjunath Pujari was woken up by a loud banging on his door. He rushed out to find two people pleading with him to take a woman, in labour, to the hospital. They had seen the auto parked in front of his house. No sooner had Pujari, 42, reached their house than the family proceeded with the pregnant woman to the hospital. This resident of Belagavi in north Karnataka, returned home a satisfied man as the woman gave birth to a healthy baby. Moreover, he did not charge a penny to his passengers. "The purpose would have been entirely defeated had I demanded money from them. You never ask people for money if you are helping them," he tells RD.
This was not his first time, though. Pujari had made it a practice not to charge people who he felt, were in distress and were headed to the hospital. But the early-morning incident had a profound impact on Pujari. "I decided that day that I would be available anytime during the night for any hospital-related emergency and this service would be for free. Mine would be an auto ambulance," says Pujari who lives in a working-class neighbourhood of Belagavi.
Next, he had his phone numbers plastered on his auto and also publicized it through the town-based NGOs. In the past five years, he has provided his ‘ambulance service’ to hundreds of people in need of urgent medical attention, transporting most of them in the late hours of the evening or in the wee hours. "There have been pregnant women, heart-attack patients, the elderly and others," he says. Most of them, he says, were poor people who couldn't afford a private hospital ambulance service. Pujari has a fully equipped first-aid kit in his auto created ample space for patients to get in and get out without any discomfort.
He would like to add other emergency supplies such as an oxygen cylinder, but he fears that it may land him in trouble. "I am not a trained health worker. I don't want to do anything that can compromise the people who need emergency help. I have decided that my job is simply to rush them as soon as possible to a hospital," he says.
His family—parents, wife and son—has always been supportive of this heroic endeavour. "It is my wife who has woken me up, many a time, in the middle of the night to receive an emergency call. She waits up for me to know if everything went fine, when I return home," he says.
Pujari works as a supervisor in a private firm by day and drives Ola auto from 6 to 9 pm. "My day job pays for my family expenses and I set aside most of the money I earn from my auto for charity purposes," he says. He has been recognized for his work and has been felicitated by many organizations in the town. Pujari now wants to own a van that can be used for immediate medical help. "This is my dream now. People can lie down and the stretcher can be easily taken out once I am at the hospital," he says.
We hope this hero's dream comes true.