The coronavirus has taught us a few things. Humanity prevails and that in spite of the uncertainty of the entire situation, there is still hope. Case in point is this. A Malad, Mumbai resident Shahnawaz Shaikh sold his Ford Endeavour SUV to buy oxygen cylinders for COVID-19 patients. Why did he do this? Shahnawaz’s friend’s sister happened to pass away due to the lack of an oxygen cylinder. She was tested positive for COVID-19 and was being rushed to every nearby hospital. Unfortunately due to the lack of facilities, all the hospitals refused to admit her. She expired while on the way to the sixth hospital. Shahnawaz was told by his doctor friends that she died due to lack of oxygen as the virus affects the lungs. This devastated the gentleman and he started his quest to provide oxygen cylinders to those who didn’t have access.
So, how many oxygen cylinders has Shahnawaz Shaikh donated till now?
Shahnawaz’s car was a Ford Endeavour and it had a special 007 number as well. He sold the SUV. The gentleman was quoted as saying that it isn’t hard to give up on a prized possession like a car. If one of these families that have received the oxygen cylinder through him, he can buy several more such cars. Before the lockdown was enforced, Shahnawaz was helping transport patients from the slum in his 7-seater SUV. Shahnawaz has a two-year old daughter. When he goes home, his wife and kid are isolated in a separate room and if he wants to meet them, usually sanitises himself.
So far, Shahnawaz and his team have distributed more than 250 oxygen cylinders. He says that usually the relatives are asked to come and pick the oxygen cylinders themselves from Malad. Sometimes when the entire family is in isolation, then health volunteers go and deliver these cylinders. These volunteers wear PPE kits and maintain social distancing. The affected families are also taught how to operate the oxygen cylinders and what pressure to maintain.
We salute the team and their spirit. Being motorheads ourselves, it is hard to sell off one’s prized possession. But, here, all for the greater good of humanity. It is after all the need of the hour.