By Shevlin Sebastian
“It was brave of these boys to help a stranger,” says Kochi MLA Dominic Presentation, as he presented mementoes to Arnold Fletcher David, Steven Joe Mammen, and Ron Varghese, who are Class 12 students of the Toc-H School. The event took place at the breakfast function, following the 40th day memorial mass for advocate MP John, 79, at Kochi.
At 7 p.m., on August 6, Arnold, Steven, and Ron were returning from their tuition classes. It was raining, but, suddenly, near the Janatha stop, on the Sahodaran Ayyappan Road, they heard a loud bang. They saw an elderly man had fallen on the ground and was bleeding from a big gash on his forehead. “A car had hit him,” says Arnold.
Without thinking, the boys rushed towards the victim. There were many bystanders, but nobody stepped forward. They noticed that the man had lost consciousness. So they quickly hailed a passing auto. “We laid him inside the auto,” says Steven. “Then I got in and my friends followed in another auto.” They decided to go to the Indira Gandhi Co-operative Hospital, because it was the nearest.
But the authorities there told Steven that they did not treat head injuries. So John was placed in an ambulance and taken to the Medical Trust hospital. On the way Steven checked the numbers on the mobile phone. The first one was of the driver. The second one was of a person named Bobby. So he called up Bobby who turned out to be the son. “I told Bobby Uncle that the owner of this phone has been hit by a car and that I am on my way to the Medical Trust,” says Steven.
Bobby Mana, a businessman, who lives in Panampilly Nagar, immediately called his friend Xavier, of the Pulickal family, which runs the Trust, and requested for all facilities. At the hospital, John was rushed into the emergency room.
By this time, the shirts and trousers of the boys were drenched with blood and rain, but they felt an inner satisfaction. “For us, John Uncle was a stranger, but we were glad to be of help,” says Ron. A grateful Bobby says, “These boys were the Good Samaritans who helped my father.”
Three days later, the boys read in the newspaper that John had died. And then the coincidences started piling up. Arnold's grandfathers, HJ Lee and Fletcher, had been friends with John. So also was Steven's grandfather, CS Varghese. And Steven's father, Air Force Group Captain Bijo John Mammen, was a classmate of Bobby at the Rajagiri Public School.
A few days later, the students got a call from John’s family. They went and met Bobby's mother. Says Steven: “Mrs. John thanked us and said, 'You did something which no one else did'.”
(The New Indian Express, Kerala edition)