It was a cold and windy night. My friend and I had met after a long time, and were chatting for hours. We did not notice the time passing by, and soon it was close to ten in the night. We decided to take an auto rickshaw to go to our house.
It started raining, and we hurried to get into an auto rickshaw and reach our place. None of the auto rickshaws stopped for us, except one.
The driver asked us where we wanted to go and we told the place. Without talking anything about the fare, he said, ‘please get in!’ We thanked the auto driver for stopping.
Since it was very cold, I asked the driver to stop at any small restaurant or a tea shop. We liked to have a cup of hot tea. The driver stopped near a small restaurant.
We ordered for tea, and asked the driver to join us and have a cup of tea. The driver refused. I insisted him to take a cup as it could be refreshing.
Again the driver refused to drink tea.
My friend asked, ‘Will you not take tea from this shop or what?’
The driver replied, ‘No Sir, I don’t feel like having tea now.’
I asked again, ‘But, why? A cup of tea will do no harm.’
The driver with all smiles replied, ‘Thank you sir, but I’m sorry.’
My friend asked, ‘Do you have any habit that you won’t eat outside?’
The driver said, ‘No!’
My friend became angry with the driver and said, ‘You think we are not equal to share a cup of tea with you?’
The driver remained silent and never replied.
I was really surprised at his behavior and asked my friend not to compel him.
In 15 minutes, we reached our house. We paid the fare and he thanked us.
I stopped him, as I really wanted to ask him why he refused to drink tea.
He thought for a minute and replied, ‘Sir, my son passed away this noon in an accident. I don’t have enough money for his funeral. So I promised not to drink even water, until I earn enough money for my son’s funeral. That’s why I didn’t drink tea when you offered. Please don’t misunderstand.’
We both were shattered and offered him more money for his son’s funeral.
I said, ‘Please take this.’
He politely refused, ‘Thank you for your generosity sir. In one or two hours, if I get one or two more customers, I will earn sufficient money I need.’ And he left the place.
He could have charged us double or even triple the usual rate due to rain. Still, he received the nominal auto fare. In spite of his poor financial condition, his deep sorrow, the auto driver remained honest and stood by his words!
Be honest to all, because honesty is the right policy.