With a debt of over five lakh rupees and almost daily instances of penury breathing down his back, you would have thought Roy would have not hesitated to pocket the huge sum that accidentally found its way into his hands.
But no amount of money could persuade Kallashariparambil Roy Jacob, a 40-year old auto driver from a village near Kattappana in Idukki to part with his honest nature...yes not even for a moment.
It was on February 3 that Roy’s tryst with destiny began when he found a black bag on the road side.
On opening it, he was astonished to see it stacked with currency notes. On counting, he realized that it contained Rs 5.26 lakhs to be exact.
That would have been the moment when his mind should have been overwhelmed with thoughts of his own personal debts and greed should have had its way.
They say honesty is ingrained in a person’s psyche…there are no two ways about it. The age-old adage “finders, keepers” simply didn’t cross his mind.
Not even waiting to pause for a minute, Roy rushed to the nearest local cable TV office to announce his surprise finding to the public.
And he didn’t stop at that.
While on the way to their office, he kept spreading the news of his finding to whomsoever he met and by the time he reached there, he had already received a call from a man named Shaji who runs a chit fund. Shaji had apparently collected the money from the people to deposit in the bank.
After due verification, Roy handed over the money to Shaji who felt “God himself had come down to earth to help me.”
This is not the first time that we have heard of honest auto-drivers having returned lost cash to their rightful owners. But what makes this heart-warming episode special is that Roy is a heart-patient and in dire need of money for treatment and continued medication.
Roy smiles disarmingly: “I was more worried about the person who had lost the money …that he or she would do something to harm himself or herself out of sheer desperation. I firmly believe that one should not covet even a single penny belonging to others.”
Shaji recalls that years ago at a time when Roy really needed money for his heart operation, Roy had not hesitated to hand over a bag that he had found with Rs 50,000 in it to the police who later restored it to its rightful owner.
It was Ujala Ramachandran –a local businessman- who had sponsored Roy’s heart surgery after coming to know of his plight through the visual media.
“So you see I am just carrying forward the kindness he showed to me,” Roy says, his simplicity shining through.
We leave Roy at this juncture surrounded by his small family comprising his mother, wife and two daughters amidst a pile of debts yet blissfully happy and at peace in his little rural homestead.