When Ranjani Shanker, a young woman from Bangalore, failed to book a cab, she settled for an autorickshaw. It was a 38 kilometres trip from a coffee shop in Bangalore city to Kanakpura Road and taking a ride with a stranger in middle of the night was a really hard decision she had to make.
If that was not enough, the location she asked for did not allow autos on the route suggested on the map as it was highway or toll road. If she had to reach her home, she could only do that if they took a road with no street lights.
The auto driver took her on a dark road and what happened next, she can never forget.
Here is what Ranjani Shanker posted on her Facebook account:
The world needs more men like GhasamfarAli.K, a true gentleman who knows how to make a woman feel safe when the conditions didn't feel that way.
After a one hour wait spent waiting in a Cafe Coffee Day looking for cabs on Uber and Ola, to take me from Bangalore city to Kanakpura Road, I finally could find only an Ola autorickshaw that agreed to make the 38km trip. In the meanwhile, I was also trying to get a ride from a friend who was headed in the same direction but a little later. So when my auto arrived and I got in, he told me that the location I've asked for doesn't allow autos in the suggested route, (highway/toll road) and so we'd have to take a different route. I looked up Google Maps to find the simplest route and told the auto driver that he had to follow the route I told him only with no deviation. He said okay, but once I started telling him, he slowed me down to warn me that the route had super low light and checked if I was okay going on that route.
I took a few seconds to coordinate my ride with the friend who said he'd meet me half way and pick me up. So I just took the risk and trusted the auto driver, who'd definitely done everything right up until then to convince me.
The next 30 mins was an auto ride in complete darkness with a stranger in a city that's not my home, with only my phone to keep me connected and provide me light. All through the ride, the auto driver kept checking if I was okay and mentioned that Ola had given him the right training to drive for single women and that I'll be just fine. Even then, I was holding onto my pounding heart and hoping I reach my friend with no trouble. Not only did this man reach me safely to my destination but he waited 20 minutes with me until my friend arrived, crossed the road with me and ensured I got in safe.
What overwhelmed me was not how well he did his job, but that he was a decent human being who knew that safety is a single woman traveller's biggest concern.
Thank you GhasamfarAli. Ola, you should be proud to have him drive for you.