Ask any Mumbaikar about his or her opinion of a taxi driver and the immediate answer would involve the terms “arrogant” and “cheat”. But a cancer patient from Assam encountered an exception.
Taxi driver Nafiq Ansari (second from left) with API Sharad Pitale (left), Shahjahan Ali and PSI Sachin Patil (right) outside Nirmal Nagar police station; (below) Ansari’s taxi
Doctor Annas Ali, a resident of Guwahati, landed in the city on Sunday with his relative Shahjahan Ali, a professor at B N College and resident of Dhubhri, Assam. Ali, who is suffering from cancer, was supposed to undergo surgery at the Prince Aly Khan Hospital in Mazgaon on Monday evening.
To ensure that they do not waste time in travelling, the duo lodged themselves at a hotel on Mohammad Ali Road in south Mumbai. As per schedule, the two left the hotel and took a taxi for the hospital.
They were carrying Rs 89,500, the amount necessary for Ali’s surgery. They duo kept the moneybag between lest they forget to carry it while getting out of the vehicle. Nonetheless, alighting from either side of the taxi, they forgot the bag inside the cab.
The taxi’s driver, Nafiq Ahmed Ansari, a Bandra resident, said, “From Mazgaon I got a passenger for Dadar and then for Matunga. None of them sat behind. From Matunga I drove to Bandra. It was while locking the door that I noticed a bag.
It immediately struck me that it belonged to the duo who got off at the hospital. I did not open the bag, so that I could resist the sin of keeping the money, if it had any.
I directly went to the Nirmal Nagar police station and deposited the bag with its officials.” It was API Sharad Pitale from Nirmal Nagar police station who opened the bag and discovered cash and a mobile phone inside.
He said, “I went through the dialled list and called on a particular number to which most calls had been made. The person who answered the call said the phone belonged to his relative (Shahjahan). We called Shahjahan to the police station and handed over the moneybag after a thorough inquiry.”
Speaking to mid-day, Shahjahan said, “Had the taxi driver failed to returned the money, Annas’ operation would have never happened. You can imagine the importance of money for a cancer patient. He added, “I salute Ansari and the cops, who helped us out. Today, we experienced the honesty and humanity of Mumbai city, of which we had only heard.”