In June 2010, we inaugurated Ahmedabad's first Love-All-Serve-All rickshaw. This gift-economy rickshaw will give riders the chance to go from one place to another, on a pay-it-forward basis: someone before you has paid for you tab, and you can pay-forward whatever you want for those after you.
The idea was seeded by a chance encounter of a volunteer ... and then on Oct 21st of 2010, on the day of Dashera, we started Ahmedabad No Rickshawalo. On this day, which traditionally marks the triumph of goodness over evil, we intended to take India's ancient "Guest is God" value and give riders a chance to experience the city with new eyes. Since, then, the rickshaw has been running six days a week, as Uday-bhai shares a lot more than a ride.
In addition to the concept, the rickshaw itself is unique. The meter always reads zero; inside are inspiring reading material; a "truth" and "love" container in the back holds various snacks for the riders; there's a trash can inside so you don't have to litter on the streets; on the back, it proudly reads Gandhi's statement: Love All, Serve All.
Translated Diaries of UdayBhai
Date: 1/7/2010 Thursday
Today Jayesh bhai asked me to drive my Rickshaw as I regularly do with passengers but he asked not to ask for money according to meter but ask passengers to give whatever money they want to give happily. He also asked me to start my Rickshaw by remembering the name of Ishvar Dada and Vasudaa Ben who would bless me. He also gave me a note of Rs.5 which I laminated. Starting from Ranip, a passenger got in from Ramapir tekri and dropped him to vadaj. He sat in my Rickshaw by telling me that he would give me Rs.3 but when I told him about gift economy, he gave me Rs 5 instead.
A second incident happened when that day I took an old labourer woman from Dudheshwar to drop her till Sandesh press Mirzapur. When I dropped her to sandesh press, I told her that her money was already paid by the person who sat before her and she was in exclamation when she heard this and told me that how this was possible that somebody could pay her money even before she sat in the rickshaw. She asked me if I joking, but I told her that I didn.t want any money from her but I wanted blessings from her.
Third incident took place when a passenger sat from Gita Mandir to go till Patang hotel, ashram road. When I dropped him, I asked him to pay whatever he felt like paying. He asked me not to joke. I told him that only for that day I had decided not to take any money from any passenger but to take whatever passenger felt like paying. That man became happy and told me that I had very good intentions. Then he told me that he was also coming from a doing a good deed. He told me the story which was about a mother-daughter who used to fight regularly and the daughter wanted to leave the house. She had a father, but he used to come home once in a month, moreover he was a drunkard. She also had a brother but he was studying in a college. Sometimes they didn.t even have money to have food. And that passenger told me that he had just came by sympathizing them. Hearing his story, I told him that he could contact Mr. Jagatbhai from Manav Sadhana organization which was in Gandhi Ashram whenever he wanted any kind of help. We would be happy to help others to be happy. Our happiness was in others. happiness. And I told him that if he wanted my help than he could contact me anytime by calling me. He told me emotionally that there were very few people left in the world who were happy to serve others.
The fourth incident happened at around 8:30 pm when I was going from Vastrapur to home. Some nine girls were standing at a bus stop. They asked me to go Paldi Mahalaxmi cross road to drop them. I told them that they would have to take two rickshaws as they were nine girls. But they denied saying that they wanted to go in one rickshaw only. Then after I adjusted them all in my rickshaw as they asked for. While driving, I shared my story with them and they got emotional and asked me if I could click a picture of them sitting in my rickshaw. Then as soon as I dropped them at their place, they got out and I clicked pictures of them sitting in my rickshaw and then clicked pictures of each one of them as if she were driving the rickshaw. They gave me Rs 50.I had new experiences that day.
On 17th October 2010 which was Dashera, I did muhurat of my rickshaw. Muhurat means worshipping. Jayesh Bhai, Anar Didi, Madhu Bhau, Meghna Ben, Ishwar Dada, Vasuda Ba, Dipti Bhabhi, sanjay bhai and I, we all put tilak on Rickshaw and then we broke Coconut which came in as a part of Muhurat. Then, First thing which I did was to take Ishwar dada and Vasuda Ba to Ramji temple for prayer. Then, I , Jayesh bhai, Madhu Bhai, and Ganesh Bhai went to meet Dipak Bhai in Memnagar. We showed the rickshaw to Dipak bhai who became happy by looking at the rickshaw. Then I started to go to jayesh bhai.s house . There we all had lunch together. From there, I went to drop Madhu bhai to his home.
On 20-10-2010 Wednesday, I was standing near Mt. Carmel school on Ashram road. One man came to me and asked if I could drop him to law garden. He asked me how much would I take and I replied that whatever he felt like giving me with heart that would do. He told me that, he would give me Rs 10. I told him that whatever he felt like giving would do. Then he sat in the rickshaw and he became exited by looking the inside of the rickshaw. Just to test me, he told me that he if he wouldn.t give me any money, would it be ok with me. I told him, anything would do. He became impressed with my helping intention and told me that I was truly a Gandhian. And that I have pure intentions for service. He further told me that whenever he sat in any rickshaw, I sat by deciding the fare before sitting and he knew that the total came out to be Rs.13 and he gave me Rs 13. I could see happiness in his eyes.
12-10-10 Thursday: This day, I was coming from Rakhiyal with empty rickshaw. I saw a blind person whose name I was Giri bhai. He was crossing a traffic filled road. I thought if that person would cross road in so much of traffic than there were chances that he met an accident. So to help him, I turned my rickshaw and asked him where he wanted to go. He told me that he wanted to go to bus stand. I asked him to sit in my rickshaw. Then while in rickshaw, I asked him where he actually wanted to go and he told me that he wanted to go to Gomptipur. I asked him to be seated in the rickshaw and told him that I would drop him. But he insisted that he would go in bus. But I hesitated saying that I wanted to drop him in my rickshaw only. While going I asked him where exactly did he live? He told me that he lived in Blind silvester working hostel. He further told me that they were forty blind people who lived there and every morning they go to work and come back at night after having dinner. Mr. Vijay Bhai who was the warden of the hostel took care of us and charged Rs 250 per month. When I dropped him, he thanked me and told me that in this Kalyug, still there were good people left who still wanted to help others.
30-10-2010 Saturday: In the afternoon, I was going from income tax where one man asked me to go to Gujarat University from where one woman had to go. I went to the university where a woman was standing with a bag. She put the big bag in the rickshaw and asked to go to railway station. But she asked me to stop somewhere where she could buy apples. She thanked me for that. She told me that she had come to Ahmedabad for two days and she lived in Mumbai. She told me that she had got diarrhea and that was why she bought apples. I told her about a medicine for stopping diarrhea and asked her to have pomegranate. She thanked me for my suggestion and told me that she would not have anything that day as the journey was too long and that she would only have apples so that diarrhea would stop. Looking at my Khadi clothes, she asked me if I was a member of university. I told her no, and further added that I was linked with one thought school. I explained her, the concept of my rickshaw and how any passenger could give any amount as fare. The meter readings were always zero. She became more than excited and told me that she has never seen such a concept of rickshaw. I gave her a book to read and a smile card. She was impressed by my serving nature and gave me Rs 50 as fare and Rs 100 more for my children.
5-11-2010 Friday: A woman passenger who wanted to buy some vegetable, dry fruits, fruits etc,. so I took her to old city. Since I also had to go back to Ranip and she also had to go back to Ranip, I asked her to be in my Rickshaw only. While she was going for vegetable shopping, I asked her if I could help her and she was more than glad to have me to help her. I parked my rickshaw. She bought various vegetables and I asked her to just choose whatever she wanted to buy and I asked her that I will lift the vegetable bag. After buying vegetable she gave me Rs 300 and asked me to buy vegetable and fruits for my own home. I became emotional and told her that just by you asking me to buy means I bought it. But she forcefully gave me Rs 300 and then I bought fruits and vegetables for my children. From there we came back to Ranip. From there I went back to my home. I gave vegetables to my wife and fruits to my children who became very happy. Seriously, after becoming Ahmedabad.s rickshaw wala, I had so many new and amazing experiences. And I now I am always ready to serve people.
13-11-2010 Saturday: Today was one of my most memorable days of my life. I got a chance to serve Mr. Amrut bhai Tideva who was with Gandhiji during independence movement. He was sick and I was proud to serve him during such condition. I took him to L.G hospital where he showed to Dr. Jeetu Bhai. From there I took him to Ranip and from there to Gandhi Ashram and Manav Sadhna where he gave a speech of about fifteen minutes. Everybody felt pride and took his blessings. From there I went to L.G hospital to take his leave and take his luggage and dropped him to his home. He gave me Rs 100 and asked to have food in nearby hotel swagat. But I didn.t take that money, but he forced me to take it but I denied. I kneeled to his feet and asked him for his blessings. I also told him that whenever he wanted to have my help, just call me. I would be more than happy to serve you. I told him that I was lucky that I served a person who had been with Gandhiji.