A video capturing the daily midnight run of a 19-year-old in India on his way home from work has gone viral on Twitter by touching viewers’ hearts.
Pradeep Mehra from Almora, Uttarakhand, captured the attention of award-winning Indian filmmaker Vinod Kapri while running down Golf Course Road in Noida at midnight.
At first, Kapri thought Mehra was in trouble, so he offered him a ride home. When the teen declined, Kapri continued chatting with him and learned that Mehra had made it his nightly practice to run about 10 kilometers on his way home to Barola Village after his shift at the McDonald’s in Sector 16.
“Let me drop you home,” Kapri insisted while driving next to Mehra, who kept running. But the teen explained that midnight is his only time to practice his runs, as he has dreams of joining the Indian Army.
“It’s my routine. If I go with you, it will affect my practice,” Mehra says in the video.
In the mornings, Mehra went on to explain, he works and cooks food for his family. He lives with his older brother while his mother is hospitalized.
The clip, which was uploaded on March 20 by Kapri to his official Twitter account, has garnered over 11 million views and more than 300,000 likes, as of this writing.
“This is PURE GOLD. Last night at 12 o’clock on the road of Noida, I saw this boy running very fast with a bag on his shoulder. I thought he could be in trouble so I should offer him a lift. I repeatedly offered him a lift but he declined. You will fall in love with this child if you get to know the reason,” Kapri captioned his tweet, according to Indian Express.
“As a filmmaker, I know that every scene in a good cinema should have twists and turns,” Kapri told NPR. “My conversation was brief, but it had immense twists and turns. Even as I shot the video, I was discovering him. I came to help but instead left inspired.”
The video went viral as Mehra’s story tugged at the hearts of viewers and left them inspired. Netizens, celebrities, generals and politicians alike praised Mehra for his hard work and determination.
“The boy here is not complaining about anyone or anything. He is not expecting sympathy or help. He knows what he has to do. He is just doing it with determination. His focus is not on the past, but it’s on the present and the future,” Civil Servant P. Manivannan tweeted. “Citizens like him make our country great!”
Photographer Atul Kasbekar gifted the teen with running shoes, a backpack and apparel, while others appeared at his workplace to hand him money and more shoes.
Mehra also received a check of $1,300 to go toward his mother’s medical treatment from local politician Amit Jani and was awarded a three-year scholarship to Minerva Academy to train for written exams and interviews for the Indian army.
“I believe that everyone faces problems at some level,” Mehra told NPR. “My only advice would be not to dwell on the problems but to face them and to work hard. When it comes to achieving your goals, you need to be focused and determined. There should be no excuses. In other words, don’t ever stop running.”