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Extra Ordinary Gentleman

“Extraordinary isn’t the antonym of ‘Extra Ordinary’; Extraordinary is something remarkable, whereas ‘extra ordinary’ simply means very ordinary or more ordinary.”

We don’t need extraordinary human beings in our lives; we need extra-ordinary.

Summer, (An Indian City), April, noon.

My two-wheeler’s engine died after sputtering for a while. I ran out of fuel. How did my predictions go wrong? My motorbike’s speedometer doesn’t work, so I mentally calculate the distance whenever I ride it. The next fuel station is about a mile away. How am I supposed to walk along dragging this dead-weight automobile for one and a half kilometer?

The scorching heat is burning as if I got stuck on a volcanic crater. My interview is scheduled for 12:30. If I do not make it on time, I’ll miss the opportunity. This is my 88th job interview. Yes, you’ve heard it right, my 88th!

I was a university topper, got placed in one of the finest companies, and married the most beautiful and respectable girl in my community. I got possessed with a “start-up” demon and went bonkers doing my own business. I left my high-flying job and then took a loan from my retired parents, in-laws, banks, and relatives. I sold my car and my wife’s jewels to sustain my entrepreneurial dream for operational expenses.

A couple of years went by, and I knew the wheel wasn’t moving ahead any further. All my financial numbers bleed red. There wasn’t any profit, and I decided to shut it down once it for all. For the past four months, I’ve been attending a series of interviews to prove my mettle as a marketing business consultant – but the corporates only think I’m just another useless maniac.

Sweat started to roll down from my forehead, cheeks, chin and finally landed on the hot, black tar road as I heaved my two-wheeler. In the distance, I could see a mirage and a few heavy vehicles passing on the opposite side of the road.

Summer vacation for schools and colleges must be 45°C, and thus there is very minimalistic traffic on the road. I can’t ask for help from anyone. Instead, I’ll push myself harder to reach my destination.

It even applies to my life; there wasn’t anybody to help me after I failed. No friends, family, kith, or kin ushered a path. All I wanted was to get a job. I never disclosed to the recruiters that I was a failed entrepreneur. I told them; I took a medical break to get treated. A fake medical certificate is still in my file.

I didn’t dare to express or explain my failures to the person ready to give me a job.

This interview is significant to me. If I miss this, I don’t have any other interviews scheduled for three months. The economy is pretty bad, and already lay-offs are the hottest topic trending in the corporate sector.

After dragging my bike for five minutes, I pause for a moment to take a few breaths before I continue my daunting journey. My phone buzzed in vibration as I got an SMS from my wife,

‘My dad slapped me…

We had a heated discussion about returning the money they’ve invested in our business in the morning.

I’m just so pissed off with them.

Message me once your interview is over….’

My wife’s an angel. She gave her parent’s retirement fund, jewels, and little savings for my venture. And now, I’m unable even to buy her new clothes. She still believes in me that I might achieve something.

She asked me to pray every day and gave me a ring to wear. Being an atheist myself, I believe in science and facts. The ring still lingers from pocket to pocket; the holy ash she smeared on my forehead is getting wiped out by the perspiration. I started tugging my motorbike once again; this time, my heartbeat speeded up as if I were running a marathon.

I quit.

I’m drained physically and mentally.

I can neither haul my bike nor my life any further.

My wife’s voice keeps ringing in my ear, “have faith and hope; something will take you where you wish to be.”

I spoke to myself then, don’t know if this is called prayer, but I just told myself, ‘Please someone help me, someone, to save me from this mess… I shall be grateful. Please.’

Out of the blue, a biker raced towards me. He stopped his motorbike right in front of me.

He was a middle-aged man, and his head was confined inside his helmet. He was wearing a riding glass, and I couldn’t see his face.

“I’m guessing you ran out of petrol. How’ll you manage until the next fuel station?” he questioned.

I shook my head from right to left.

“Do one thing, just hop onto your bike, and I’ll toe it till the petrol bunk.”

I don’t know how that’ll work. I’ve seen many people toeing two-wheelers and autorickshaws with the help of another two-wheeler, but never have experienced it so far in my life.

I obeyed.

I sat on my lifeless motorcycle; my hand gripped tightly onto the handlebar. Suddenly, magic happened. My bike was in motion. I looked behind to see the right leg of the motorist pushing the number-plate mudguard of my bike, and he was carefully focusing on his driving so that he didn’t lose his balance. If he commits one blunder, then both of us will fall together.

But he managed the situation like a pro. I felt he had given such a helping hand, sorry, helping leg to many such stranded souls. I was stranded on the road, abandoned in life.

In less than five minutes, we’ve reached the petrol station, and he tactically released his leg so that my bike automatically made its way to the fuel-filling pavilion.

“Thanks a lot, bro….” I shouted.

He didn’t respond. He didn’t have the time to stop his motorcycle either. He just lifted his right arm and signaled a thumbs-up before he twirled the accelerator of his bike. Within a few seconds, spewing a puff of smoke, he vanished, speeding on the highway.

12:30 P.M

“Good Evening, Sir. You’re right in time for the interview. Let me ask the HR personnel to take you through the process.”

The lady at the reception desk greeted me.

I took out the ring which my wife gave me and wore it confidently on my right-hand index finger.

The HR personnel went through my resume and cleared some background verification. Two rounds of technical test and one psychometric test was conducted online, and I removed it all. The final round was a one-to-one discussion with the managing director and founder of the company.

The interview went on very well. The discussion alone lasted for more than 90 minutes, and from the body language of the MD, I could feel that he was thoroughly impressed. And I did something which I haven’t done so far in my past 87 interviews.

I took out my fake medical report and tore it right in front of his eyes. I confessed that I’ve been lying so far in all my interviews.

“It’s not true, sir. I wanted to become somebody like you. I started my firm, and it collapsed. I didn’t dare to tell the other recruiters. I felt ashamed. I felt reckless that no one came to succor during my times of distress. My entire society and community looked down upon me. But, from now on, I’m not going to lie.”

“What made you admit now?” the MD asked

“Today, when I was stuck in the middle of the road, a stranger helped me. He made me realize there are people out there with compassion who selflessly help others. All I needed was a little push, after all, and I got it. Why be ashamed of being me? Why not be honest and face the real consequences of life? Even if you reject me, it’s fine, sir. I’ll keep looking for a job, but this time I’ve confidence that if I’m stuck, someone out there will help me get through.”

15 Days Later

My wife cried in happiness as I received the offer letter from that same company.

2 Years Later

She delivered a cute baby boy.

To this date, I haven’t seen the motorist’s face, nor did I notice his vehicle number plate so that I could trace him; I don’t know his whereabouts. He was just an ordinary gentleman who did something extra which made my life extraordinary.

Do not lose hope in humanity. Still, there are altruistic individuals out there who toe the extra mile to help you. And many others want your help too.

Whenever I see someone stranded on the road, I help them –gratitude for my Good Samaritan.

I owe this story to him.

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