"it was an SOS call as he said the oxygen is limited"
An Indian man has revealed that he drove 1,400 kilometres to bring an oxygen cylinder to his childhood friend who was suffering from Covid-19.
Devendra Kumar Rai, a resident of Jharkhand, got a call from his friend Rajan Kumar Singh on the night of April 25, 2021.
Rajan, of Noida, Uttar Pradesh, told him that his oxygen cylinder was running out and that he was unable to get it refilled.
India’s Covid-19 second wave has seen cases surge.
The health infrastructure is struggling to cope, with a lack of hospital beds. Provisions such as oxygen are also in short supply.
Devendra told The Independent: “Rajan was not able to secure a bed in any of the nearby hospitals and that is why he was at home.
“For me, it was an SOS call as he said the oxygen is limited and there is no way to get it refilled.
“I left Ranchi, Jharkhand’s capital, within 10 minutes to go to Bokaro to arrange a filled oxygen cylinder.”
Devendra travelled 100 kilometres to Bokaro on his motorbike within a few hours in order to obtain an oxygen cylinder.
He managed to get one from another friend, who is an oxygen gas plant owner.
Devendra continued: “On 25 April, in the afternoon at 3 pm, I finally left Bokaro in a car borrowed from another friend and drove non-stop to Noida over 1,400 kilometres away.
“I only had water for me. I took no break for food or rest.
“I didn’t sleep or stop for toilet and reached his house next morning at 9 am after a journey of nearly 18 hours.”
The Indian man revealed that when he reached his friend, his oxygen cylinder had around 15 minutes worth of capacity left.
Several days after the long-distance journey, Rajan’s health has now improved.
Devendra is currently staying with him as Rajan’s wife is six months pregnant and due to the risk of Covid-19, the couple cannot go outside.
Devendra said: “We talk regularly over the phone every few days but we met after a gap of three years. I am here till he finally recovers.”
He went on to say that there was no hesitation in not helping Rajan as he is a childhood friend.
Devendra continued: “We were born in the same hospital and have been friends since then.
“We did our schooling together but were in different colleges after which he came to Noida.”
Devendra revealed he did not tell his family before going on the long journey to save his friend.
He added: “There was nothing to ask anyone. My friend needed my help and I had to come.”