He is a disabled man, and was tired.

That image of man passed out in Kochi metro and ridiculed as drunk Heres the real storyImage: Manorama News
news Kochi Metro Saturday, June 24, 2017 - 09:38

It was the perfect image for internet trolls. Amidst the euphoria in Kerala about the newly-launched Kochi Metro, a man was seen lying down on the seat inside a coach, spreading himself out in relief. The first assumption anyone would make was that he was drunk – and that’s what people online did.

Immediately, the image went viral and the man was christened ‘Keralathinde Pambu’, or Kerala’s Snake, going after the way he lay inside the metro.

Several users online called the man out, stating that ‘people like him’, who ‘misbehaved’ inside a metro, were the problem, assuming that he was drunk and passed out. He was ridiculed mercilessly by many.  Here is one such post.

But here’s the catch: according to his family, he wasn’t drunk or passed out. He is a speech and hearing impaired man who was returning from the hospital after visiting his brother who was in a critical condition, and he was so tired and frustrated, that he lay down inside the metro to rest himself, his family says.

Soon after the image went viral, Manorama set out to trace the man. The man, Eldo, is a native of Kidangoor near Angamaly in Thrissur.

Speaking to Manorama, his son Basil said, “My father, mother and I went to the General Hospital in Ernakulam to meet his brother was admitted. I told father that we should ride in the Metro for the return journey since it was new.” Basil spoke for his father since his mother also is speech-impaired, and said that his father was tired and upset so he was lying down.

Eldo’s mother said that he was not drunk, but upset. She said that he was disturbed about his brother’s condition, which is why he was lying down.

Unhappy with the way he has been mocked on social media, Eldo’s family and relatives have requested social media users to not mock him any further. 

This is also not the first such incident. In 2015,  the video of a 'drunk' policeman travelling on the Delhi Metro went viral, with then city Police Commissioner B.S. Bassi even suspending him from duty.

The video had showed a policeman with his shirt untucked, struggling to hold on to a pole while swinging back and forth inside a coach. At one point, as the train braked to a halt, he even fell down on the floor, and was helped up by fellow passengers. 

Several lakh people had shared the video on social media, claiming that the man, identified as 50-year-old head constable Salim PK, was a 'disgrace' to the police force.

However, it was reported later that Salim had acute health problems and partial paralysis of his body, due to a major stroke he suffered a few years ago.

The Daily Mail reported that Salim had put in long hours at work that day, and had not taken his medicines, which left him dizzy and disoriented. 

The report adds that a police enquiry and verification of his medical records confirmed the same, and he was reinstated to the police force on November 5, 2015.