Going an extra mile!


People visit the library of our office on a regular basis. Our librarian is very helpful to colleagues and outsiders, providing books/journals/publications available in the library – fulfilling the job of a good librarian. However, what she once shared with me is a perfect example of going an extra mile. Before I share this, I must add that she does not want to be named saying, in all humility, this is her job. How beautiful the world would be if such an attitude of feeling ‘accountable’ was universal..


          A young research scholar once telephoned her from a small town, enquiring about some reference books she needed for her thesis. The research scholar had been struggling to source the books for some time but with no success. As a result she was behind her submission deadline.


Our librarian listened to the caller patiently. She informed the caller of the books that she could provide. In addition, she offered the contact details of other libraries that the researcher could approach. The prompt information delighted the caller who informed that she intended to make a trip to the city to research the material. She had one query: Would it be possible to access all the books, including visits to other libraries in one day so that she could return by evening? This would save her the hassle of arranging for an accommodation.


On the morning of the caller’s scheduled visit, she was pleasantly surprised to find books staked on a table in our library. These books were placed alongside publications that didn’t belong to our office – a sign that our librarian had gone that extra mile. She had taken it upon herself to contact her counterparts in other libraries and run by the caller’s list of reference material. Then she requested the respective libraries to send across the short listed reading material for a day when the researcher was coming to our office. She had empathized with the caller, understanding her unease at staying the night in a new city.


The researcher was extremely grateful to discover all the books under one roof, and that someone had taken that effort to source the books as per her check list. If our librarian had only provided books that we had in our library, and given information about other sources, she would have still done the job of a good librarian. But sourcing books from other libraries, and keeping them available for the use of researcher was the extra mile that had saved the researcher time and resources. At the end of the day, it was an extremely satisfied and grateful researcher that shook hands with our dear librarian.   


We can do a lot within our areas of influence to help people. Let’s remember this episode, and try to emulate this in our lives/work.


One more point before I close. When it comes to doing something for people close to us – our friends, siblings, relatives – we all do whatever we can. We explore all possible options, and knock at several doors. But when it comes to people we do not really know, we are generally not so forthcoming. So, next time a stranger seeks your intervention, think before delivering your verdict. What would have been your response to the request had the stranger been your friend or cousin or aunt? Go ahead and do the same for new faces too. The term ‘going that extra’ needs to extend into life and reflect in our everyday behaviour.      


3 Responses to Going an extra mile!

  1. dr anurag verma says:

    I was in Delhi for a training. My company arranged my stay in a costly 4 star hotel.I needed to access the internet to get my tickets. I asked the desk and was told that facility was available and chages were Rs 100/- for access and Rs20/- for each print/page.There were about 11 pages. Knowing that the charges were very high I went and asked an attendent as to why the charges are high and she told me that the tariff inside the hotel are as per rates. I got a few prints and feeling cheated walked out. One attendent who was watching me all the time asked me if he could be of any help. He said there was an internet cafe nearby where access is 10/- and prints 5/-but requested anonymity. Well, comming out I hailed a cab, told him to take me to connought circus. The driver asked whether I was new to Delhi. I said yes, he told me connought is closed on Sundays. I told of my predicament. No problem, sirjee, he said, just waik down the left lane and on the first intersection you will find several bylanes and there are many cybercafes. Have good day, Sir and he zoomed off. I got the job done in the small market and did a bit of shopping too!. I also had good meal at a throwaway price. It was not about money but attitude of so many people who went many an extra mile to help.
    My day was made. All the pain, depression due to cancelled tickets and the inclement weather vanished. I found myself humming a long forgotten tune and walking the distance with a lighter step. My flight was on time, attendants were helpful and and copassengers accommodating. I always believe in goodness and try to do my bit. But being on the receiving end gives a new faith in our beliefs.
    Dr Anurag Verma

  2. Dr. Rajesh Nair says:

    Dear Sir,

    I strongly feel that goodness & warmth in our day today relationship with known and unknown, should prevail. As a human being our humane attitude & practice should remain with us.

    I want to share a turning point in my life. I was also a person believing in walking an extra mile & lending help & support to known and unknown. But an incident changed me completely.

    During my post graduation days, once I was on my way from boys hostel/ library to my home (about 5 kms.) on a brand new motorbike. On my way I saw two lads, with a hand bag (seems to be strangers) looking for some address in the University campus. It was a winter evening about 7.30 p.m., I thought I should help them and turned my bike towards them. I politely asked them if can help them. Both of them said, “yes, we want to be get dropped at the other gate of University campus (about 2 kms. away from that place). Can you give us your bike to us?” I was shocked and I asked them, I can drop you guys there but can not give this bike as this is of my friend. Suddenly, they pulled out a gun (revolver) and put it on my temple. Firmly I told them, listen this is not my bike, you can shoot me and take this, but I will not give it to you. So about 2-3 minutes we continued with arguments and I was also ready for every eventuality. Abruptly some thing happened to one of them and they started running. Then, I rushed and informed the incident to local Police at Tel. No. 100, but to my surprise they asked me to call vigilance deptt. of police. I was literally ‘furious’ over them, but then politely asked for tel. No. of vigilance and provided details to them.

    May be this incident is an isolated case and can not be generalized. But this little incident has certainly changed my attitude in extending a helping hand or walking an extra mile (only in case of providing lifts to unknowns). It makes me wary now and from then onwards I have never given help to strangers, be it elderly women or men or a child. But fortunately this behavior has only remained in respect to giving lift in car or motor bike. Another lesson learned is until some one asks for my help or support, I do not go on my own to help him/her out.

    May be this is wrong, but this is the way things are these days. Trusting unknown persons can be dangerous. One should remain little cautious while walking an extra mile with unknown. I wish this good sense prevail in me too.

    • Dear Rajesh,
      Thanks for sharing this incident. I can appreciate your response. I would only suggest that such sporadic incidents should not change you. Everyone may not ask for help. It is important to observe the needs of people around us and offer our help, in as best a manner as possible. Nonetheless, such incidents do provide good lessons that we must rememebr. In my view, key lesson from the incident you described is that we must be cautious ( as you have also rightly mentioned). It is all the more necessary in today’s world when there are so many people out there on the roads to create trouble. In this context, stopping to help two boys on a lonely road may not be a good idea. They were young, and could have easily walked some distance. However, what if there was an old man or a woman, it would still make sense to stop and try to help. Why should the doings of some crooks stand in our way of doing good for others?.
      warm regards

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