Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Unexpected act of kindness

This is an incident that happened almost twenty years ago but I still remember it very distinctly. My contract had ended with the organization I was working with. I had option of choosing from couple of offers for a job change. I was quite keen on one of them. But as the recruitment procedures were taking more time than expected, I decided to wait for the completion of formalities for the new job of my choice and hence had to leave Oman.

I did not want to sell my car as I was certain of returning, hence I decided to transfer it in the name of a friend for safe keeping until my return. My car was in joint ownership of the organization and myself. Therefore, I needed letter from the organization to transfer the ownership to my friend.

It is not a secret that many organizations in this region carry a “colonial” attitude in dealing with their employees. Most managers go around with a demeanor that of a dictator. They literally treat the employees as slaves. There was this invisible sword of “sacking” hanging always over one’s head. They would resort to everything possible to make things difficult for the employee. Things may have changed now for the better. I would not know as I have been very fortunate to be working with organizations that valued the worth of its employees, since I left this organization.

It was the last working day of the week, closing time was 1:00 PM. I was quite apprehensive of things moving slowly, hence I went to the transport office first thing in the morning. As expected,  nobody gave me definite answer on when I would get the letter. Finally after following it up several times, I got the letter along with "end of service settlement" around 11:30 AM. I went to the bank, encashed the settlement cheque and rushed to the Vehicle Registration Office. I had to hurry because the office closed at 1:00 PM.

The Vehicle Registration Office was more crowded than usual, as it was the last day of the week. I had to complete three procedures, application form verification, fee payment and transfer completion. As I was standing in the queue, I kept glancing at my watch. Finally after what seemed like an eternity, I got my application verified and moved over to the payment counter. By then it was almost 12:30 PM and there were only three men ahead of me. I heaved a sigh of relief, as I stood awaiting my turn. And then, it happened! 

The whole place went dark, it was a power outage. I stood there dazed and stunned, wondering "oh no, what will happen now, it was already approaching closing time, what will happen to my car"! I was jolted back to reality by a voice coming from somewhere behind the counters. Then I realized that the whole place had become empty and I was the lone man left standing in the darkness. I felt so stupid! As I looked towards the direction from where the voice seemed to come, I saw a police officer addressing me and asking what was wrong. I explained my situation to him, that I had to transfer the car in my friend’s name before I left the country that evening.

The police officer took my application and told me to come to the rear entrance of the building. I rushed out and went around the building looking for the rear entrance. It was a restricted area, entry allowed only for police personnel. As I approached the rear entrance, I saw the police officer standing in the hot Sun with a file in his hand. As I approached him, he handed over the transfer completion document and a manually prepared receipt for cash payment. I gave him the money and took the document, thanking him profusely. He just smiled and said “no problem, go”.

The police personnel in Oman are extremely courteous. Even if you are pulled up, the first thing they would do is greet you with “Salam Alaikum”, followed by hand shake and then only they get down to business. It is really very heart warming, something quite different as compared with what happens around some parts of the world. Of course as the saying goes, “you can always find few rotten apples in every basket”. But, it is better to cherish the good experiences and forget the bad ones.

But I was too flabbergasted at what just happened. It was absolutely unbelievable that someone, a police officer at that, would go to such an extent to help you out in such a situation. He could have just as well looked the other way and carried on with his work. But he chose to empathize with the state of quandary I was in. Something really extraordinary! 

Later when I returned to Oman, I went looking for the kind police officer. I remembered him only by his face. I searched, but could not locate him. I tried to look for him during subsequent visits but coild not find him. Either he had been moved to another department or location or he had retired. However, to this day, I cherish his act of kindness.


No comments:

Post a Comment