A driver’s story goes viral in Mumbai after people hear about his heartwarming sacrifices.

A grandfather named Deshraj Ji captured the hearts of thousands after the story of his sacrifices for his granddaughters went viral, prompting many readers to reach out and help. So many people reached out, in fact, that it completely changed his life.

A Personal Tragedy

an elderly man smiling
Courtesy of Humans of Bombay

You see, a few years ago, Deshraj faced personal tragedy. One of his sons had disappeared and showed up dead in his car at 40 years old. Two years later, his other son was found dead by suicide. That left the grandfather responsible for his granddaughters and daughter-in-law.

So the man did the only thing he could, and he doubled down on his work day.

“I didn’t even have the time to mourn — the next day, I was back on the road driving my auto,” the man told Humans of Bombay. “It was the responsibility of my daughter-in-law and their four children that kept me going.”

According to Deshraj, one of his granddaughter’s biggest concerns was whether she would have to quit school. “Never!” He told her. “You study as much as you want.”

Making Sacrifices

an auto rickshaw
Photo by PS Photography

In Mumbai, going to school cost money. So Deshraj began leaving home at 6 a.m. and working as a driver until midnight most days. By prolonging his hours, he was able to make 10,000 Rs a month. Still, with 6,000 Rs per month on school fees, that only left 4,000 Rs to feed a family of seven.

“On most days, we’d barely have anything to eat,” he revealed. “Once, when my wife fell sick, I had to run door-to-door begging for money to buy her medicines.”

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Still, they managed until Deshraj’s granddaughter wanted to continue her studies and obtain a B.Ed in Delhi. “Educating her in another city was way beyond my capacity, but I had to fulfill her dreams… at any cost,” he said.

So Deshraj sold his house, sent his family to relatives’ homes in the village, and lived in his auto, working in Mumbai.

“It’s been a year now, and honestly, life’s not bad,” he shared. “I eat and sleep in my auto, and during the day, I ferry my passengers. But then my granddaughter calls and tells me, ‘I came first in my class,’ and all my pain vanishes. I can’t wait for her to become a teacher so that I can hug her and say, ‘You’ve made me so proud.’ She’s going to be the first graduate in our family.”

A Change of Circumstance

Deshraj’s pride and selfless acts captured the attention of publications across the country and internationally as well. After hearing everything the grandfather had given up and the sacrifices he had made, people wanted to help.

One person set up a crowdsourcing campaign, and several others offered help. As the story grew on social media, even more people reached out. Before long, more than 24,00,000 Rs had been raised, ensuring Deshraj now has a roof over his head and his family is taken care of.

“The support Deshraj ji has received is immense,” Humans of Bombay shared on Instagram. “Because you all went out of your way to help him, he now has a roof over his head and will be able to educate his granddaughter! Thank you so much.”

Small Thoughts Make a Big Difference

Deshraj didn’t sacrifice so much to draw sympathy or to receive donations from others. He wanted to give his granddaughters a better life and allow them the freedom to pursue their dreams.

It was a combination of his sincerity and the way he sacrificed that spoke to so many. How many of us would give up our house for a family member to get a degree and live on the streets instead?

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Still, the story reminds us all that even a little bit of help can make a big difference in a person’s life. Online communities came together to help Deshraj off the streets while still helping his granddaughters attend school, demonstrating that concept yet again.

It’s a friendly reminder that the next time you come across a plea for help on your social media page, consider giving a little bit. It might not seem like a lot at the time, but donating even a couple of dollars to help out someone in need can make a huge difference in their life.


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