An Indonesian community has rallied behind an elderly banana merchant who was recently robbed.
The 94-year-old fruit seller named Suratman said he was approached by a motorist who claimed to be interested in making a purchase. However, once Suratman entered the stranger’s vehicle, two men forced him to empty his pockets, then kicked him out and drove away, according to BBC News.
Suratman was robbed of more than 1m rupiah, or approximately $80.
Tommy Reza spread awareness of Suratman’s story by posting a video of him in distress, which tugged at people's heartstrings.
In the video, Suratman explained that he was planning to use the money that was stolen from him to buy new furniture in celebration of the Eid al-Fitr festival that begins this month.
"I just happened to be in the area when I saw a man shouting for help," Reza said of how he came to encounter the victim.
After posting Suratman’s story and receiving responses from people who wanted to help the elderly man, Reza decided to start a fundraising campaign to replace Suratman’s money.
"Many people from Jambi and even overseas from places like Hong Kong and Malaysia got in touch to ask me where they could donate money," he said.
In the days since Reza shared his story, more than 37m rupiah (about $2,781) has been raised to help Suratman. Even the governor caught wind of the situation and donated 5m rupiah (about $375) and purchased the rest of his bananas.
Reza shared photos of himself bringing the money to Suratman’s family. “He was very grateful and he was praying. I told him that I was only the messenger," Reza said of the man’s reaction.
The display of compassion that people showed toward Suratman is a beautiful counteraction to the cruelty that the cowardly thieves who robbed him displayed.
The robbers may have thought that they were leaving Suratman in suffering, but instead, he is now much better off.