Monday, January 7, 2013

Unsung Heros!

Some time back on a visit to Adelaide, Australia, I saw a man sitting on a beach bench feeding the Pigeons.  It was a cold Saturday morning and yet this man wrapped in woollies sat there feeding the birds. Surely there were a lot of option this gentleman had on how to spend his hard earned Saturday but he chose to put the welfare of these birds over his own comfort and pleasures.  Given the fight for survival, the competitiveness and the complexities in this world of ours, it is a wonder that we still find people who care for others and put them before self. I call these people the unsung Heroes. We rarely hear about such people because their act of kindness goes unnoticed by our busy eyes on the move. 

Occasionally the media captures them and brings them to our attention. We may marvel these unsung Hero's unselfish intentions and may even wonder what makes them click but soon they are forgotten and we hit our roller Coaster world of schedules and activities. The incident soon opened up for me my memory files and I recollected having met many unsung heroes through my life.  The first person that I remembered was a one Mr. John, he was a busy corporate executive but every time there was a need in our community be it a wedding, sickness, death, Mr. John would be there quietly working in the back ground to organise whatever was needed for the occasion. I rarely heard him speak but he always had a smile. He was well respected in the society and could have been the busy body or the chief to boss over everyone to get things done but he chose to give unselfishly of himself and all that he had to help others whatever the occasion was.   Over a period of time his reputation as a rock to lean on was well established and at one home I heard the priest tell the elderly lady who just lost her husband, that John had been informed and that he would be soon there and take care of all the arrangements. 

Among others who danced through my mind were a do gooder uncle, who witnessed a hit and run case. He was driving in the opposite direction and had to drive almost a mile to find an exit to get to the victim on the other side of the road. Even though more than five minutes had passed no one had come forward to help the bleeding lady. This uncle of mine picked the unconscious victim and rushed her to hospital. Unfortunately the police charged him for running down the lady! He had to fight a tough case to prove his innocence. Even at the end of that he said if there is another such incident, he won't hesitate to rush the victim to the hospital!  Then there was a Samaritan on a train that I had hurriedly boarded with a platform ticket hearing that my mother was seriously ill to reach our home town. The ticket inspector had asked me to occupy an empty seat and told me that I could purchase the ticket from him later. An hour or so later when he came around, I realised that I had no cash!  I apologised and was ready to get off at the next station but a fellow traveller who did not know me at all came forward and paid the substantial first Class fare and later in the night he even brought me dinner!  Even though I wired him the money on reaching home, I have never been able to figure out how someone can pay the first class fare of a stranger! 
In recent times I have become aware of four unsung Heroes who have been serving me for a while now. The first is an elderly man I buy fish from. It has been 12 plus years since I started buying fish from this particular man. Over the years I began appreciating this simple man and the way he serves me. He is always happy to see me and has a big smile for me. The trust I have in him frees me from asking about the price of the fish or how fresh it is. I normally tell him what I want and then drive away to the vegetable shop. When I come back 40 minutes or so later the fish is cut, cleaned and packed and kept for me. To this day I never had a problem with the freshness of the fish, weight or price. On many occasions he refused to give me the particular fish I point out to him because it was not fresh!
Ditto for the vegetable men, there are two of them, both greet me with such respect and attend to me as though I am royalty! They treat everyone who comes to their shop in the same manner. They are not owners, just employees and yet they go out of their way to give us an experience that we all cherish. Here too they will never give me things that are not fresh even if I say that a particular vegetable looks OK and I am willing to take a chance. After I finish buying they will carry out all the bags and put it in my car dickey. They don’t expect any tips and feel offended if any one tries to tip them. The fourth person is my hair stylist. With his gentleness and care he makes me look forward to the haircut and the time with him. At times I fall asleep while he is cutting my hair, he never complains and makes sure the job is done the way I like it. I come away from his saloon relaxed and marvelling at the patience he displays and the Peace that surrounds him.    

All four of them are pleasant and provides a pleasant experience which is rare in today’s world of hustle and bustle.  They are simple people with limited education and many challenges but they touch lives and inspire many. I salute all these unsung heroes and it is my desire that I too could be like them and touch the lives of the people I come across!