A young man is seen sprinting purposefully down a Noida road at midnight, in a video that racked up thousands of views within minutes of being posted on social media Sunday evening. Despite being soaked in sweat, the runner, in a perplexing move, repeatedly turns down filmmaker and author Vinod Kapri’s offers to give him a ride home.
Dubbing the boy’s reasons for politely declining a lift “pure gold,” the filmmaker chronicles his interaction with 19-year-old Pradeep Mehra in an inspiring clip, as he manages to progressively impress Mr Kapri with every new piece of information he reveals about his resolve to run 10 km in the dead of night.
In the video, Mr Kapri is filming from his car, as it rides alongside the young man, who says he’s running home from work after his shift at a McDonald’s. Despite being offered a lift, Mr Mehra insists that he prefers to run home because he doesn’t get time to run otherwise.
When prodded further on why he’s running at all at this late hour, he responds, “To join the army.”
Mr Kapri once again offers to drop the boy, telling him to run in the morning, but Mr Mehra informs him that he has no time to train then, as he has to wake up at 8 am every day to cook food before work.
Originally from Uttarakhand, Mr Mehra runs a 10-km stretch daily, from his job in Noida’s Sector 16 to his home in Barola, where he lives with his brother.
When asked where his parents are, the boy tells Mr Kapri that his mother, who is unwell, has been hospitalised.
Mr Kapri, still keeping pace with Mr Mehra, tells him that this clip is going to go viral.
“Who’s going to recognise me?” laughs the runner in response. “If it goes viral, it’s okay, it’s not like I am doing anything wrong.”
When informed that after Mr Mehra’s strenuous sprint back, he still plans to cook after, Mr Kapri says, “Come, have dinner with me.”
“No, but my older brother will be left hungry then,” replies Mr Mehra, once again refusing the filmmaker’s help, adding that his brother has a night shift at work and can’t cook for himself at the moment.
“Pradeep, you’re amazing,” responds Mr Kapri in awe.
“Let me please drop you home,” he adds, in a last-ditch attempt to change Mr Mehra’s mind.
“No no, I’ll go like this, otherwise my running will get ruined. This is my everyday routine,” says the determined 19-year-old, smilingly declining once again.
Finally wishing the boy all the best, Mr Kapri’s video comes to an end with a caption reading, “Pradeep’s story will inspire millions.”
Within five hours, the video collected over 1.8 million views, crossed 100,000 likes, and began trending on Twitter, with attention rapidly growing on the clip, as commenters revere Pradeep Mehra’s unwavering resolve and can-do attitude towards unquestionably hardy circumstances.