Pandemic Heroes: This Indore entrepreneur turned a real-life hero by delivering food, supplies during lockdown
Irrespective of their financial backing, people across the country were faced with an unprecedented situation after the government declared lockdown to control the spread of coronavirus.
The situation wreaked havoc as all services came to a standstill, and people were confused about the state of affairs, which resulted in panic buying.
But this businessman from Indore took the opportunity to give back to the society and single-handedly helped people by delivering essentials at their doorsteps.
Thirty-two-year-old Hitesh Gungan, an entrepreneur, stood up to the occasion and started his philanthropy work during the pandemic. From the time the lockdown started, Hitesh turned into a delivery man. Despite the risk of getting infected by the coronavirus, Hitesh started delivering essentials to people around him. He says, till now he has helped over 700 families.
“It was not just delivering essential kits or groceries, but also things that time demanded,” Hitesh says. “Despite being discouraged by people due to the risks of contracting the virus, I knew this was the time to unleash my humanity. So, I took the opportunity and went on to deliver happiness,” he adds.
Free home delivery
Once the lockdown protocols were in place, only essential items were allowed to be delivered home. However, with the increasing number of orders and panic buying, there were few to no slots for online food and grocery deliveries, and there was also shortage of delivery staff.
In the initial stages of the lockdown, Indore had several positive cases and about 11 containment zones by then. People were in constant fear, and did not step out of their houses. Hence, Hitesh took to WhatsApp to rise to the occasion and help people to ensure they could receive essentials within two days.
“My wife suggested that we create a WhatsApp group to share our details and people can place orders on the group,” says Hitesh. “On the very first day, I received about 73 messages from people from many locations.”
Ration kits were delivered as per requirement
Since March 28, he has been delivering essential items to many households in and around Indore, without charging them anything for the delivery.
Be it medicines, essentials, ration or even a cake for a celebration, Hitesh became their go-to man. In fact, he also received requests for a refrigerator and an air conditioner as well. Despite the transportation difficulties, Hitesh somehow managed to deliver these utilities.
While delivering the items, Hitesh says he ensured he took all safety measures, which was the need of the hour. He made sure to sanitise his hands and ensured a 500 metre distance from the customers.
“Naturally, people were scared to come in contact, but it’s something they could not avoid. However, I ensured a safe distance and left it at their doorstep most of the times,” says Hitesh.
After getting back, Hitesh would wash his clothes separately to ensure the safety of his family.
Hitesh also delivered essentials to IIM Indore and helped the doctors working there as well. When the number of positive cases were high in certain areas, Hitesh would start his day as early as 4 am so that he could deliver items when there was no crowd.
Hitesh says, the impact has been massive and gratifying. Not only did he become well known across Indore, but people were very grateful for him as he risked his own life to help people in need. Not just the general public, but even police officials had much to say about the initiative.
“While I was travelling to make a few deliveries, the cops stopped me and enquired about the purpose of my journey,” says Hitesh. “Once they found out that I was single-handedly delivering essentials, they immediately had an immense amount of respect and gratitude towards me,” he adds.
The cops even saluted his efforts saying that he was the real hero who helped save many lives with his efforts.
However, despite his efforts, he says, few people were quite rude and treated him very differently – similar to any delivery boy who was paid to do this job. However, the love and respect that most others showered on him was more than enough to fuel his mission.
Now, despite the relaxation of the lockdown and the recommencing of the online services, people still contact Hitesh just to strike a conversation for old times’ sake.
“The wonderful things that people had to say about me and the happiness I received by putting a smile on their faces was all I needed to carry this forward,” he says.
Thanks to his efforts and selflessness, Hitesh has become a true hero in these pandemic times!