BENGALURU: Meet Tulasi Lavakumar, the only woman cab driver who ferries Covid patients to hospitals. Though she has a heartwrenching story of her own, the 42-year-old, clad in a PPE suit, flashes a bright smile and comforts all those who take her cab.
She told The New Sunday Express, “It was nearly 12 years ago when my mother suddenly collapsed. While we were waiting for the ambulance that never came, she breathed her last. Though my mother was a single parent and had to care for four girl children, she ensured that we were brought up with dignity. We could not rush her to a hospital only because none of us knew how to drive. I wished I knew driving,” she explained. The opportunity came a few months later, when she saw an advertisement in a newspaper that the social welfare department in Banashankari was conducting free driving classes for women.
Tulasi joined and was adept at driving in just a few days. She later taught her husband and her 21-year-old son to drive. Soon after, her husband became a cab driver. He recently had to undergo an emergency open heart surgery. This time, however, she said, “I didn’t have to wait for any ambulance or take anyone’s help to attend to my husband. I drove him to hospital in our own car and saved his life.”
With her husband’s health, the financial condition of the family went bad. Though Tulasi is also a karate trainer, she could not earn enough to make ends meet. She saw that hundreds of people wanted cab services to ferry Covid patients, but no one was willing because of the fear of infection. She registered her husband’s car with Cabto and started making trips.
It has been 20 days since she started and she says, “I learn one new lesson of life with every person I ferry in my cab. I have been addressed as akka (sister), thayi (mother), thangi (younger sister), amma (mother) and I can’t tell you the amount of blessings I have been showered with.”
She gets Rs 600 per trip and says she is ready like a soldier whenever she gets a call. Despite her average earnings, she and her sisters have distributed food to the needy at different places.