When I am late for a meeting or when I am just feeling too lazy to catch a bus, I take an auto to work.And everytime, I approach the auto stand, I gear up for the inevitable haggling session with the auto drivers.The auto driver starts his bid with a ludicrous double fare, I start mine with the correct meter fare and then we slowly work our way to a compromise and the middle path of 1.5 times the meter fare. Now the auto drivers at the stand and I are so familiar with this game and the compromised 1.5 times fare that as soon I walk up to catch an auto, we flash each other a knowing smile, I get into the auto that they point me to and we do away with the  haggling completely.

Yesterday, I was running a little late and so decided to take an auto. PP dropped me at the auto stand and as I walked up to the auto stand, I saw an unfamiliar face sitting in the driver’s seat of the first auto in the queue. I stopped and mentioned my destination and braced myself for the usual absurd high rate usually quoted by the driver. But to my surprise, he simply nodded his head, turned on the meter and asked me to get in. ‘ Oh well, looks like this one will haggle with me only after I reach the destination ‘  I thought to myself as I climbed in. 25 minutes later we reached my office and the meter showed Rs 49. I took out Rs 50 from my wallet and handed it over to him and again braced myself for the inevitable arguments for more money with the usual supporting statements like the office is in such a remote corner of the city and how he would not get a ride back and so would suffer losses. Imagine my surprise, when instead he dug into his pocket to get out the 1 rupee change for my Rs 50 note. I was in shock as I waved away the money and asked him to keep the change.

Like a zombie, I displayed my ID card to the security personnel at the gate  and entered the office premises. Only after I had walked a few steps did I regain my senses and realize that I had just had the rare opportunity of meeting an honest Bangalore auto driver and travelling in his auto . I quickly turned and had another look at this rare specimen and also quickly noted down his auto number. Here is hoping and praying that he is seen more regularly  at the auto stand that I frequent.

And as they say, may his tribe increase.