It’s not only the big donations that count. Even a chilled Coca-Cola, offered with care and love, on a hot summer day, can go a long way. Such is the story of Lokamani Amma, who stays in Payakaraopeta town in Andhra Pradesh’s Vishakhapatnam district.

Lokamani Amma was returning home after collecting her salary from the school where she worked. She saw a few policemen keeping vigil under the blazing sun – police personnel have been on the front lines during the COVID-19 pandemic. “I got an idea that I should give them something from my end. So, I purchased two large bottles of Coca-Cola and handed them over to the policemen who were on lockdown duty,” she says. 

One of the policemen asked her how much she earned, to which she laughingly replied, “Rs. 3500 per month.” Extremely touched by the generosity of someone with a modest income like hers, they handed the bottles back to her. At the same time, another policeman recorded the entire incident and posted the kind gesture of Lokamani Amma online. Soon, the video went viral on social media and received many heartwarming comments. The video touching so many hearts was no surprise, because after all, this lady had so gracefully demonstrated that she may earn small but had a very big heart. 

“So many people have been donating food and other things to the police, doctors and other workers who are toiling relentlessly during this emergency,” says Lokamani Amma. “I also wanted to do my bit. Therefore, I thought of offering them Coca-Cola.”

The scale of magnanimity of this gesture, however, can only be judged when put in context. There are six members in her family – her husband, son, daughter-in-law and her two grandsons. Her husband, Suryanarana is 62 years old and he does not work due to health issues. Her son and his wife are self-employed - they make and sell boxes in which sweets are packed.

Authorities were quick to recognize her thoughtful gesture. For Lokamani Amma, it was a moment of extreme happiness to be recognized and honored in this manner. “They  treated me like their own mother. I will always remember the love and kindness they showered on me,” she said happily.

News of her kindness made headlines in the media - people responded to her generosity with donations that have helped Lokamani Amma further build on that small yet generous gesture. Two non-resident Indians sent her Rs.78,000 and with this money, she has given 500 kg of vegetables and 15 kg of rice to the needy like the migrant workers.

She believes that essential workers, police officers and doctors are working tirelessly in this critical situation to save lives of common people. “I think we need to thank them for this.”

Amma has not just become a well-recognized figure in Payakaraopeta town, but an unusual bond has also been built between her and the police. Occasionally, they drop her off to her home so that she does not have to trudge home in temperatures that can top upto 45°C as Andhra Pradesh experiences some of the most scorching summers in the country.

She says that if she had enough money, she would continue to help those in need of food or anything else.

Lokamani Amma’s story stands tall and true to the statement ‘It is always the thought that counts.