We have heard about overnight internet sensation, but 19-year-old Pradeep Mehra’s purposeful midnight sprinting made him an internet celebrity within hours.
The video of his polite decline of an offer for a ride, while sprinting alone down a silent Noida road at midnight, has racked up lakhs of views within hours of being posted on social media on Sunday evening.
Filmmaker and author Vinod Kapri on posted the video of Mehra, whom he found running along a silent road at midnight. In the video, we could see Kapri offering a lift to the young man in his car. However, in a perplexing move, the runner, drenched in sweat, repeatedly turns down the filmmaker’s offer.
When asked about the reason for the decline, the young man, who works at a fast-food joint in Noida, told the filmmaker that he is preparing for selection in the Indian Army, and the jog home from work after his shift is his only time to exercise.
Dubbing the young man’s determination as ‘pure gold,’ Kapri chronicled Mehra’s story on Twitter with a short clip of their interaction. ‘Last night at 12 o’clock on a Noida road, I saw this boy running very fast with a bag on his shoulder. I thought he will be in some trouble and I should give him a lift. I repeatedly offered a lift but he declined. You will fall in love with this child if you listen to the reason,’ the filmmaker wrote on Twitter along with the now-viral video clip.
An Uttarakhand native, Mehra told Kapri that he runs for a 10-kilometre stretch daily, from his job in Noida’s Sector 16 market to his home in Barola, where he lives with his elder brother.
When Kapri once again offered the ride asking the young man to complete his daily exercise in the morning, Mehra informed 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.
When asked where his parents are, Mehra told Kapri that his mother is unwell and is admitted to a hospital.
Impressed with Mehra’s determination, Kapri, who rode in his car alongside the sprinting youth, told him that the video of their interaction is going to get viral. ‘Who’s going to recognise me?’ Mehra laughed in response, adding that ‘If it goes viral, it’s okay, it’s not like I am doing anything wrong.’
In his last-ditch attempt to offer a ride, Kapri offered the runner to have dinner with him. The determined young man again refused the filmmaker’s help and said, ‘No, but my older brother will be left hungry then, as he worked the night shift and can’t cook for himself at the moment.’
Calling Mehra ‘amazing,’ Kapri wished all the best to the young man and ended the clip. In over three hours of being posted, the video has been viewed over 1 million times on Twitter and have been retweeted over 33,000 times.
In another tweet, Kapri informed his followers that he is constantly trying to get in touch with Pradeep Mehra. ‘I wanted to wish him all the best for the country. Presently he is busy with his work. He doesn’t even know that his video has gone viral,’ the filmmaker wrote.