Dubai: In an age when indifference is common, even consciously exercised in some situations, the spontaneity with which a Dubai-based teenager engaged with a runaway student to help reunite him with his family on Sunday makes for a heartening tale by itself.
Like many others who browse through social media, Ronit Lachhwani, a Grade 12 student of GEMS Modern Academy, had also seen umpteen posts about Ameya Santhosh, a Grade 10 student of DPS Sharjah, who had gone missing from his home in Sharjah since Friday. But little did he know that he would be instrumental in finding him.
Speaking to Gulf News, Ronit said he happened to spot Ameya in Jumeirah near La Mer when he came out of a career counselling class on Sunday.
He said he was walking up to his car when he noticed him. “He was right behind the car and he seemed familiar. When I realised that the face was that of the boy who had gone missing, I instinctively shouted out his name.”
He said he got the answer he was looking for when Ameya instantly looked at him. But not wanting to scare him off, Ronit acted like he knew him and struck a casual conversation with him. “As I talked to him, I slipped in the fact that his parents were worried and that they had been looking for him. I asked him what his problem was and he said it was exam stress.”
Without much ado, Ronit then convinced Ameya that he should call his father and offered his phone to make the call. Asked why he didn’t speak to the father first, Ronit said, “I just felt it was better this way – for Ameya’s voice to be heard first.”
It was clearly an emotional moment for the father and son. Ronit said, “He may have wanted to cry but he was strong.”
When they hung up, Ronit asked him if he had had something to eat. He said Ameya told him he had been surviving on water for two days, so he took him to a fast food restaurant nearby where he ordered a veg meal.
Subsequently, Ameya’s father arrived on the scene. What followed was a touching reunion. “He hugged Ameya and thanked me,” said Ronit adding, “I wanted to give them space, so I immediately left. Moreover, I had to prepare for a test.”
For Ronit, who had handled the situation in an inspiring way, there were two big takeaways. “First, you should never hesitate to help someone in need. And two, running away from exam stress doesn’t solve the problem.”
Speaking to Gulf News earlier, Ameya’s father said Ronit was nothing short of an “angel” who had helped him find his son.
Ronit’s parents are also proud of him. “They are very happy and said I did a really good thing,” said the teenager.