Sometimes, out of nowhere, you get to hear some stories that generally leave a huge impact on you and force you to think that yes, goodness still exists in this world. This is one such story of how a simple photograph, and a will to change something for good in this world, led to such a kind act by a foreign national.
Dick Smith, a multi-millionaire Australian businessman, and his wife Pipa were travelling to Vadodara, India by train. Now, it is not uncommon for people to be living under a bridge or on the roadside in India, keeping in mind the extreme poverty conditions here. But, when Dick saw a poor family living under the bridge, and a little girl wearing nothing but a pink bracelet, he was deeply moved and so he even clicked a picture, and also noted down the GPS coordinates.
He then contacted an Australian journalist, Chris Bay and his wife Jess if they would be interested in searching for the girl and doing something for the family.
Chris took on this expedition willingly. And, with just a photograph in hand and a will to help the girl and her family, they came to India. They reached Vadodara, and found help in a friendly receptionist, Jayati who agreed to be their translator.
In a country of 1.25 billion, searching for one little girl living under a bridge, seemed a Herculean task. But, they managed to do it. They reached the location, the Polytechnic Bridge or Shastri Bridge and decided to start finding the family.
However, it was difficult as the picture only showed the back of the people. They started asking people locally, and then one person led to another that eventually led them to a face in the photograph. He admitted to knowing the girl in the picture, which led Chris and Jess to the girl’s mother. They contacted a family friend, Ratan who is a bank manager, who in turn led them to Dr. Chellani, who eventually helped them find the family.
Divya (the girl with the pink bracelets), got scared on seeing so many people together and thought that she is in trouble. After pacifying the girl and her family, Chris and Ratan called the entire family to the bank, so that they could explain them about their purpose of visit.
Divya’s father is a plasterer, and earns a meagre amount in which he is unable to feed his family. He was more than willing to get help, and was extremely grateful for it. They then went on to open a bank account for Divya, and put in her mother’s name as the guarantor.
Chris and Jess then took the entire family for shopping so that Divya could get some basic supplies she would need for school. Divya’s mother kept on refusing the gifts, and when Chris and Jess did not relent, she then helped them bargain the prices. A school bag, uniform, shoes, and school stationery were all bought for her. Chris and Jess even bought some equipment for her father.
Dick and Pipa were then given all the details of the bank account so that they could deposit money in it every month. The funding of the bank account would be taken care of by Dick who would deposit money every month, provided the family send Divya to school every day. And, the funding would stop if the family fails to send Divya to school.
This story just goes on to show that humanity still exists in the world. Dick, Chris and Jess definitely ringed in their Christmas and New Year in such a positive way. And, the spirit of spreading love and care towards our fellow beings truly comes out in such a heart-warming way. Thank you Dick for showing us that there is always a silver lining in every gloomy cloud!