Ramchandra Shinde, who has worked with the Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport (BEST), the civic bus service of Mumbai, all his life, recovered from the coronavirus infection a week before his retirement.
He also has over a hundred paid leaves left. But on Thursday, he was back at work even as many other employees are playing truant, a senior official said.
58-year-old Shinde, who hails from Satara district, tested positive for COVID-19 on May 8 and spent 15 days at a COVID Care Center before being discharged on May 22.
After taking rest for a few days, he joined duty on Thursday afternoon.
"He said he didn't want to retire sitting at home, wanted to serve BEST and the city till the last day of his service," said the senior officer.
Many other employees including younger ones are remaining absent from duty despite requests and warning of action, he noted.
BEST has a fleet of over 3,500 buses and over 30,000, employees on its rolls. But with over 200 BEST staff getting infected with coronavirus and at least eight dying, there is fear, the senior official said.
The result is that BEST is unable to operate the required number of buses.
Mr Shinde, who joined as a conductor in 1988, is now a bus inspector with Marol depot and his job is to manage the services on around 40 routes for emergency and essential services staff.
"I am serving BEST for 31 years. It gave bread and butter to my family, and I could give good education and life to my children. Now during this difficult time it's my duty to serve the organization," he said.
"Since I joined in 1988, people have been saying that BEST will be shut down due to losses. But it is still running strong and will continue to serve the city," he said.
During every disaster in the the last four decades, BEST buses were the first to hit the road again, Mr Shinde said,
expressing confidence that life in Mumbai will be normal once BEST operations resume in a full-fledged manner.