43-year-old auto driver
43-year-old auto driver
The Free Press Journal

Amid the lockdown witnessing an autorickshaw on deserted streets of Mumbai is a rare sight. However, in suburban Mumbai's Dombivli, Rupesh Repal's yellow and black coloured photo with 'Free auto service' written over it has become quite famous now.

Repal, 43, who came to Mumbai from Solapur back in 2001 has been an rickshaw driver ever since.

However with Coronavirus having a firm grip on the city, Repal couldn't hold himself back and wanted to play his part and contribute in some way or the other to combat the spread of the dreaded virus.

Ever since the city came to standstill rom March 22, Repal has been providing voluntary transportation to the essential service providers for free of cost.

His day starts at 5 in the morning. Since early morning he ferries doctors, civic officials and policemen to their destination. In many cases of emergency situation, when there was requirement of emergency transport, local police stations and ward officials have reached out to him, thus sending out an SOS.

43-year-old auto driver
43-year-old auto driver
The Free Press Journal

Repal also ferried number of doctors in the middle of the night when they had to report to duty during an emergency situation. "This is a tough time we are in and we all need to stand together. Doctors and civic officials don't have frequent means of transportation to reach their destination. So I am helping in whatever way I can," said Rupel.

"The doctors, paramedics and civic workers are risking their lives for us. This is the least one can do in an attempt of conveying them regards" he added. The Kalyan RTO has issued a NOC letter for Repal citing his vehicle as his vehicle is being used for the transportation of necessary goods.

However, with the lockdown having created immense economic hardships, Repal seemed pretty content. "Money and finances will come only if there is life. Let's not think about money now. I am not thinking about money at all that's why I have been providing voluntary transportation service," he stated.

Meanwhile, Repal's generous acts have caught the attention of state guardian minister and Shiv Sena leader, Aaditya Thackeray.

While coming to know about him on Twitter, Aaditya called him on Thursday and congratulated him for his immense good work. "Aaditya Thackeray called me on Thursday and applauded me for my work. He told me to continue with my work and provided me his personal number and told to get in touch with him if I need anything," he said gleefully.

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