Lately, I took a CNG-run three-wheeler from Panthapath for home. Just boarding on it, I noticed a fan running inside. It made me feel better as I though the journey home would be much comfortable in the summer night. Interestingly, I discovered a few more features there such as tube light, umbrella, pen and papers etc.
When asked, the driver started explaining one after another.
"The fan is installed keeping in mind the comfort for children, elderly and ill people because they fall victim to excessive heat. The mercury will shoot up, even more, after a few days. The umbrella is meant for saving the passengers from rain," he said.
Replying to a query as to why he kept pen and paper, he said, "Many passengers need to dot down information, address or cell numbers while talking over the phone during their journey. So, that is why I have those (pen and paper)."
"I also have the arrangement to help recharge batteries of mobile and laptop," he added, showing me those in my ride. However, the laptop charger was not working.
The vehicle even has sun-protected cover to save the passengers from scorching sun rays.
Just to make fun, I said why he did not have music system in place despite so many additional services.
"It is not mandatory to listen to music, but it could have been better if there was an arrangement to watch or listen to news, isn't it?" he answered.
His take on the issue just surprised me.
He has an ID card on his own which he had prepared from Nilkhet for Tk100. The card reads the cell number of his family numbers, let alone his own one. He added the numbers so that his family gets informed if he comes across an accident, by chance.
The driver also allows his passengers to pay the fare through mobile money transfer services or even by mobile recharging. He preserves mobile number of those who fail to pay the full fare.
"What if anybody cheats you?" I asked him.
"I faced such a situation twice. I phoned those defaulters afterwards, saying if they don't pay me it won't harm my income, but lead to losses to the country," he said.
The defaulters, as he claimed, the asked him why and how the country would incur losses.
"I said if any person tries to do the same, I would stop him or her. Because, upon such acts, I may stop the services I am providing right now, ultimately leaving others deprived of those (features). After such a reply, the defaulters paid me finally," he added.
"Had they not paid me, I could have earned up to Tk 500 less," the auto-rickshaw driver said.
He is now planning to install a watch and a compass. Though the auto-rickshaw is a rented one, but the features are his brainchild. He is doing it all spending own money just aiming to servce the masses.
It is tough to avoid praising him for such iniatives. The three-wheeler driver showed us, if there is a will, there is always a way; no matter what. Only a strong desire can make ensure serving the countrymen from any position.
Collected from the Facebook account of Mahfuzur Rahman.