The story of a spirited Indian teenager, Pradeep Mehra, sprinting towards his dream of joining the Army has inspired lakhs of people. The 19-year-old became an overnight star after filmmaker Vinod Kapri tweeted a video of his midnight run earlier this month.
Vinod Kapri had come across the teenager while driving in Noida. Worried that he was in trouble because he was running so late, Kapri offered him a lift. But Mehra turned down the offer saying he did not want any disruptions in his running routine.
As Kapri followed and recorded the teenager, he revealed that he only got time to run after his shift at a McDonald’s outlet in the city. Pradeep Mehra runs home from work 10 kilometres every day.
The 19-year-old also told Kapri he had to do household chores. Mehra lives with his elder brother in the city. Their parents are in Almora, Uttarakhand. Their mother is being treated at a hospital, Mehra had said.
The teenager’s story immediately struck a chord with social media users and offers of help started pouring in.
Midnight runner #PradeepMehra is overwhelmed with all the love and support.
Yesterday, @shoppersstop gave a cheque of 2.5L ₹ to him for his mother’s treatment and pursue his dreams.
God bless you guys pic.twitter.com/uRxck0S2bf
— Vinod Kapri (@vinodkapri) March 30, 2022
Mehra's story captivated media, even foreign organisations. He told American media house NPR that he never expected to receive so much attention.
The teenager added that his mother was also better. "For the last two years, she's been suffering from TB (tuberculosis) and she recently contracted a blood infection and had to be hospitalized," he told NPR. "Emotionally, this has affected my father, too -- and we worry about his mental health."Mehra has received offers for help in training from army officers. Others have shown their support by sending him shoes, running clothes and backpacks.