Mumbai Taxi
Mumbai Taxi

Mumbai: From the city currently under a lockdown comes a cabbie story, not your usual runof-the-mill fare about fare refusal but of a cabbie who actively sought fare for physical sustenance alone.

An unfortunate fallout of the lockdown has been for those who depend solely on small eateries or hotels for their meals -- suddenly, they have nowhere to go when hunger pangs strike.

At this point, there are several service providers out there who do not want money but food.One such daily wager, a taxi driver who did just this on Tuesday morning, asking the passenger he ferried to pay him not in cash, but in kind -- food. He had not eaten anything for 36 hours. The woman, Aruna S, had to go to Chembur from Mahim.

Since she was unable to flag down a cab, she was compelled to walk. She had reached as far as Matunga when she met the cabbie, in his late 50s. "I asked him if he could take me to Chembur. He gave it some thought and agreed but set an unusual condition," said Aruna, who runs a tiffin service.

"He said I would not have to pay him his fare but instead, give him some food as he was starving," she recalled.Aruna agreed when she learnt that the taxi driver, John Lobo, had not eaten since Monday afternoon.

"He told me that he was hungry and I felt really bad for him," she said.Further, Aruna said, "Upon my asking, he told me that he had no family in Mumbai, they lived in a rural part of the state. He was basically living his life out of a cab and ate at small eateries."

During their short journey together, Lobo asked Aruna why she was out of her house amid the lockdown. She explained that she ran a tiffin service, providing home-cooked meals to mostly daily wagers.

If I don't come out, all these people will not have any food," said Aruna. When she reached her destination - Chembur, Aruna insisted on paying the fare and served Lobo some food, along with a hot cup of tea.

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