Auto Anna – Do you need good education or wealth to be compassionate?

Do you need good education or wealth to be compassionate towards others or just having a kind heart is sufficient? To find out, read this story about Annadurai – more popularly known as “Auto Anna” – a simple auto-rickshaw driver from Chennai, India.

If you have ever gotten into an auto rickshaw in Chennai, you know what a hassle it is. It is a fight against mafia! Auto Anna is different.

Annadurai aka Auto Anna

What separates him from the thousands of other auto-drivers in the country is his concern for his customers. Anna’s auto has 10 newspapers, 35 magazines, charging facility for mobile phones, free WiFi, TV and a Samsung Galaxy tablet. As most of his customers are IT professionals, he says that all these facilities serve their needs and make their ride more enjoyable.

When Anna’s story was first published, he got huge appreciation from many parts of the world. People from over 35 countries called him on Friendship Day to appreciate his inspiring work. His story went viral on Facebook; it received 20,000 likes and was shared by 10,000 people.

Auto Anna – Annadurai’s interview

How it started

The 29-year old Annadurai moved to Chennai with his two brothers and a sister when he was just four. For the past four years, he has been driving a share-auto, but it was only two years ago he felt that he must do something for making his customers feel more comfortable. He first arranged 20 newspapers in his auto; eventually, the facilities started growing, and he installed the WiFi a year ago.

Serving his client is his mantra

That’s not all, Annadurai provides free service to teachers and nurses who treat HIV patients. He says that teachers deserve his free service as they create future intellectuals and leaders of the world. He offers free or discounted service to some customers on eight days in a year – Women’s Day, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Father’s Day, Independence Day, Valentine’s Day, and on birthdays of Annadurai and Abdul Kalam. He also takes care of a child’s education and inspired three of his customers to do the same. When asked why he does all this service, Anna says that money may come and go, but he needs job satisfaction – he loves the feeling when customers tell him that they wanted to travel only in his auto.

Anna also builds good relationships with customers through quiz contests in which one needs to answer 5 questions, and the winners get Rs.1,000. Every customer who boards his auto receives a token; upon collecting 20 tokens, a customer gets Rs.250 and 30 tokens can be exchanged for Rs.500.
When asked about his future plans, Annadurai reveals that he plans to sponsor the education of 10 children. He also hopes to create an old-age home where the elderly would not be treated like a burden; they can learn simple skills to earn some money. He agrees that it is a tough task, but believes that staying positive will help him reach his goals.

Annadurai’s story has proved that no matter what your job is, you can still show concern for others and make a huge difference. There is something to learn from this humble auto driver even for corporations – “Customer Service”. His story has already inspired thousands and let’s hope more and more people learn from him.

Video Credit – Trisha Mahajan
Image Credit – MRR Photography