“Not being compassionate towards needy person is a big issue in our society,” says 39-year-old Santosh Kadam, a Prabhadevi resident and a taxi driver by profession.
When many taxi drivers are reluctant to take even healthy passengers, except long-distance commuters, Kadam is doing his bit for the society by providing 10% discount to cancer patients, senior citizens and not denying even a single commuter, even if it’s a short-distance journey.
“When I observe people, they are in stress and tension, situation is worse for those suffering with any disease like cancer or TB. They have a number of challenges to face, right from physical pain to mental trauma, financial burden of the treatment and worries about their family’s future. My 10% discount is nothing in comparison to their troubles,” said Kadam.
He said whether it is cancer or any other disease, treatment these days is very expensive.
“I always felt that by taking Rs10 or Rs20 less for their 2 to 3km journey to a hospital will be a relief for them. I just hope that my small contribution can make a difference,” added Kadam, who earns Rs1,000 a day on an average.
Originally from Satara district of Maharashtra, Kadam started driving taxi since age 17. Inspired by his father’s social work, Kadam always dreamt of doing something selflessly for the society. Being a public transport driver proved to be right choice for him.
In 2014, he started his special discount service for cancer patients and elders, which gave him self-satisfaction. His Santro Taxi ferries 8 to 9 cancer patients to hospitals like Tata Memorial Hospital or King Edward Memorial Hospital and Seth GS Medical College daily. He also educates himself about cancer by reading small booklets.
Apart from discounts, Kadam also offers AC facility for cancer patient passengers and doesn’t charge for it. He also keeps one English and Marathi newspaper. As Mumbai’s temperature is shooting up by the day, he will also be providing water facility in his taxi.
Asked about denial by taxi drivers to short-distance journeys, he said, “A person who is in the field of public transport can’t say no to any passenger. You’re your work involves public then it inevitably becomes social responsibility for you,” added Kadam.
He says his earning has been affected due to private cab services due to which he is unable to pay the fees of private schools for his daughter and son, who study in a civic school. His daughter, who is the elder one, ranked first in Mumbai district in class V.
“To treat the cancer patients with love and affection is as important as the treatment itself,” said Kadam.