Tejinder Singh: Selfless Endeavour and Great Success
In a self-consumed world, kindness is a seemingly rare occurrence and is often received with caution of ill-intentions. Tejinder Singh is living proof that kindness is what bridges gaps between races, religions, countries, and communities and is a GOAT of selfless endeavour. Tejinder Singh is a migrant from India, who resides in Darwin, Northern Territory. He is an aircon technician by day, and a cab driver by night to provide for his family.
One night whilst driving his cab, the passenger asked what school Singh’s children went to, and after Singh’s reply, the passenger said that he would send his kids to the same school, as Singh wouldn’t bomb a school his own children went to. This racial stereotype and painful comment were the launching pad for Singh’s food for the hungry van in Darwin.
Trust what you have
Every day, Tejinder Singh and his family members each save $1 so that they can afford to buy rice and chickpeas for the last Sunday of each month, so they can cook and feed many hungry, homeless, and lonely community members of Darwin. The Singh family place significant trust in their finances, trusting they will be able to afford to buy their many kilos of rice and chickpeas at the end of the month. What makes Singh a greatest of all-timer in selfless endeavour, is that his kindness and acts of charitable service weren’t within his means, he and his family had to save every day so they could afford to be kind to a community that was not reciprocal of their kindness at first.
Singh’s kindness was born out of a lack of trust that his community had against him. Most people would be so offended that kindness and feeding the community would be the last thing on their minds. But not Singh, it made him work hard and show the community he only had pure intentions to participate and better the community.
People who seek to have deep and meaningful impacts in their world and beyond must build trust. As we have discussed in the three weeks prior, trust is essential in teams and businesses, but it is also a basic human need and communities and people in general need to work to cultivate trust to thrive where they are.
make time, fix priorities
Time is the indicator of priorities. Tejinder Singh makes this obvious. He works two jobs and still makes time to be out in the community being selfless. Tejinder’s wife speaks about it this when she says “It’s amazing how he does it. He drives for 12 hours at night, and then cooks for five hours around a gas stove without sleeping in-between.” His dedication to the cause is very evident in the way he uses his time.
In addition to all the hours spent cooking the food for the community, Singh then spends that last Sunday of the month giving food out. He doesn’t have a designated spot and he spends the whole day driving around in his van to hand the food out. He does this to ensure that the people who aren’t mobile or who don’t have access to a mode of transport are also fed.
What sets Singh apart from others and makes him great in the selfless endeavour is that he made time! He didn’t have hours of spare time each day and decide to be kind. He makes it a priority amongst everything else he has going on, including family, and working two jobs! We all have the same 24-hours in a day, we can make time for things that matter, in fact, we must make time for the things that matter!
‘I have a dream'…
In an interview after receiving local hero and NT Australian of the Year, Singh said “I have a dream that no one in Darwin will ever go hungry again.” It is people like Tejinder Singh that are the catalyst of change. They become the change they want to see and don’t stop until change happens! What drove Singh to create change was not hate for the racism he endured, it was the need he could see in his own community, the reason they were hurting.
Kindness and compassion are Tejinder Singh’s purpose and that is enough for him. He does not chase titles and even though he has been recognised as Australian of the day, Australian of the Year and Local Hero, he does not see the fuss, because he knows it is his purpose.
Singh is a significant reminder that deep and meaningful impacts even on a smaller scale than a multi-million-dollar company are still successful! He finds success in that he is living his purpose, being the change that he wants to see and is working towards his dream!
Lessons from the greatest
Over the last four weeks, we have looked at a few of the greatest of all time. From sport to business to selfless endeavour. Each person is different in how they cultivate these three aspects of their lives that can’t be bought, but the message is the same! Time, purpose, and trust are essential ingredients for success and whether it is on a huge world-famous level, or in the community creating change, they are equally important! Each example of a G.O.A.T is a clear example of what it takes to create success where you are! Success is possible right where you are!
Off the Leash. (n.d.). Q+A with Tejinder Singh. Off the Leash. https://www.offtheleash.net.au/features/food-drink/2016/11/qa-tejinder-singh
Polzot, V. (2016). Power of one: A man and his food van. Readers Digest. https://www.pressreader.com/australia/readers-digest-asia-pacific/20160601/283154312866336
Terzon, E. (2015). The migrant Sikh taxi driver who turned a racist cab fare into a quest to feed Darwin’s needy. ABC News. https://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-03-31/sikh-taxi-driver-feeds-darwin-needy/6358572