At a time when the entire country is struggling with the coronavirus pandemic, Sonu Sood has emerged as the unlikely hero for thousands of migrant workers wanting to reach home. He has become so successful that people have started naming their shops, businesses, even their children after him. In the midst of doom, he’s become a beacon of hope for the downtrodden. We all were moved by the disturbing images of the migrants walking miles under the hot sun, but it was Sonu who decided to act on the impulse and reached out. He started interacting with them and soon organised transport for 350 migrants from Mumbai to Karnataka. That kind of opened the floodgates and people started reaching out to him for help. He has been busy ever since trying to sort out their problems. It wouldn’t have been easy for Sonu to cut through the red tape and get the required permissions for inter-state travel for so many people but the golden-hearted actor says the problems sorted themselves out. Says he, “I felt the power of the prayers of all the migrants’ families praying for their sons or husbands to come back. I think their prayers did the trick. And watching the smiles on those faces and tears in their eyes made me believe that I was doing something right.”
He initially put in his own money and later friends, acquaintances, and even complete strangers started reaching out financially. He names longtime friend Neeti Goyal, who helped him start out, as his biggest supporter. At the last count, Sonu had helped some 90 thousand people reach home safely. That’s surely some kind of a record. But this also begs the question that if a single person was able to help so many, why has the government been so lethargic in its response? Sonu cuts the government some slack and says they too did their job. He however adds that they could have done much more. “I wish the interstate buses had started sooner for the people who were walking on foot. A prompt response could have saved many more lives,” he reflects.
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