When the unruly traffic snatched her daughter away, she decided to handle the traffic herself. Acknowledged as the ‘traffic heroine’, Dorris Francis is now fighting cancer.
The 69-year-old brave heart, Dorris Francis was travelling with her daughter in a tuk-tuk (a three-wheeler) in 2009 when a speeding car collided with it. She survived but lost her daughter. She took the responsibility of managing the traffic herself as a traffic guard at the same intersection in Ghaziabad, a suburb near the Indian capital, New Delhi.
Standing everyday at the same spot where she lost her daughter and ensuring the smooth and safe passage of traffic – daunting and praiseworthy. In a profile done by BBC called ‘Unsung Indians’, featuring people who work to improve lives of others sacrificing their own, Dorris was featured in February this year and was nicknamed ‘the traffic heroine’ by the BBC.
Until November 20, she was immaculate in her duties. It’s then that she started suffering of extreme stomach pain. She was admitted to a hospital and had to undergo an immediate surgery. She was diagnosed with cancer and reports claimed that the cancer she carried was spreading rapidly in her body.
The risk of accidents at this busy intersection in Ghaziabad is not difficult to comprehend. She lost her daughter because the driver was reckless in the absence of any supervision. Under Dorris’ watchful eyes, most drivers followed her instructions and the traffic looked fairly ordered. She even got tough with them, occasionally pressing mild whacks on reckless pedestrians and drivers with her traffic wand.
Dorris speaking to BBC earlier this year said, “It’s been more than six years since I started. My mission was to save lives and not let any mother lose her daughter, husband or son. And that’s what I have been doing and I will continue to do until I have strength in my body.”