Inspiring: Irwin Menezes defeats polio to live his dream

February 18, 2014

Heroes are not always those who change the lives of those around them. Sometimes true heroes are those who muster the courage to turn their own world around. I met up with Irwin Peter Menezes on my trip to Mangalore, last month and his story is one that vows to inspire millions.

Irwin was very young when he was diagnosed with polio. The sickness left him crippled below his waist in a way that he never walked again; but this didn’t discourage him to live a life that most of us only dream of living.

“I’ve been driving a rickshaw for five years now,” says Irwin. “I always wanted to drive a rickshaw and so I’m glad I achieved my dream.” The charming young rickshaw man helps people commute in and around Moodbidri, Birav, Taccode and other adjoining areas. So what is the best part about his job? “I love meeting new people and making new friends.”

I ask Irwin what a typical day in his life is like. “My day starts at 5.30 in the morning,” he says. A cup of tea and his morning prayers see him through the day up until noon time when he meets his friends for lunch. “I don’t drive my rickshaw all day. It depends on how many rental calls I get. You could say I get around 3 to 4 customers when business is peak.” Once Irwin is home, it’s family time! “I love playing with my nephew,” he says with a smile. “Ghara matarin, burgin and pete zaijett, na zalyaar zainaa (Elders, kids and pets are what make a house, a home).”

If you thought driving a rickshaw is Irwin’s only achievement, hold that thought! Irwin took an open-school, Grade 10 examination which he passed and is also computer literate. In addition he is a self taught carpenter (see the image of the easy-chair crafted by Irwin). “I used to observe and work with the carpenters who came to our home,” he says. Irwin has even learned tailoring and straw-designing. Any other hobbies that you have? “I love singing; I sing at church and am part of the choir.”

Irwin draws his strength from God. He believes that God provides and will help. “We must face our life like it is and not give our challenges too much importance; just behave normal.” He attributes his success to his trust in the Almighty and hard work. “Listen to your elders’ advice and take help from your friends,” he adds.

Optimism and enthusiasm personified, Irwin Peter Menezes is one man you definitely want to meet. So the next time you’re in Mangalore and need a ride, you know whom to call!


Melissa Nazareth Archives:



By Melissa Nazareth
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Comment on this article

  • Lenita Nazareth, Moodbidri/Dubai

    Thu, Feb 20 2014

    Love u mama... Great work mel :)

  • prema sequeira, Jeppu/dombivli

    Thu, Feb 20 2014

    It is a great courage. Best of luck

  • Vanessa, Moodbidri

    Wed, Feb 19 2014

    The True Hero!!!......Love U Maam :)

    P.S. Love sitting on that easy-chair :P

  • Percy Saldanha & Family, Bendur,Amboli, Mumbai

    Wed, Feb 19 2014

    God bless you.Best of luck

  • Evelyn Gomes, Gantalkatte/dombivli

    Wed, Feb 19 2014

    Thank You Melissa in a special way for the lovely article on my brother's life. I am proud of my brother. He has done lot more in life than a normal person has done.

  • Joseph and leena rodrigues, parankada house/birav/mumbai

    Wed, Feb 19 2014

    Wishing you all the success and good luck.

  • George Menezes, Gantalkatte/ Bahrain

    Tue, Feb 18 2014

    You are a real star and keep shining all the best God Bless.

  • William, Bantwal

    Tue, Feb 18 2014

    Good article on Irwin. Really it is hard work and dedication. God bless his efforts. I believe, soon he will walk on his own. Let's all say, one hail mary daily for all our needy brothers and sisters.

  • ivan dsouza Dubai, Gantalkatte

    Tue, Feb 18 2014

    Proud of you Babu..real hero of gantalkatte.God bless you and best of luck.

  • Philip Aranha, moodbidri

    Tue, Feb 18 2014

    I know Irwin(babu)since my childhood. He is a great hero. he never show his weakness. wish him all the success. May god bless him always to achieve many goals.

  • Anita Pinto, Gantalkatte / Doha

    Tue, Feb 18 2014

    Babu you are the inspiration to many people .God bless you .

  • Vincent Rodrigues, Katapadi/Bangalore

    Tue, Feb 18 2014

    Irwin Menezes is a great man of commitment,vision and adventure.With all his major physical deformity he is bend on to live the life as per his dream.Wish him all the best in his endeavour and best of luck too.Thanq.

  • Joe Gonsalves, Mangalore

    Tue, Feb 18 2014

    This is indeed a thought provoking and inspiring story of Irwin. I join several others in saying kudos to him.

    We must learn from Irwin. Despite a serious set back Irwin has fought and won life's battle.

    I wish I could meet Irwin some time somewhere.

    Good luck and a BIG GOD BLESS YOU Irwin. You are a ROLE MODEL TO MANY.

    Joe Gonsalves


    Tue, Feb 18 2014

    gods favourite are the weak.once we put out selves in gods hand he gets great things done from the weak and is human nature to value the worh of a person by his srength, capabilites and qualifications.but god helps those who help them selves.grat irvin,congratulations,and all the best.

  • jerald moras, siddakatte mangalore

    Tue, Feb 18 2014

    your the strength of those people suffring from polio good job ervi GOD bless you .....

  • nishel, Mangalore

    Tue, Feb 18 2014

    Hats off dear friend. Your inspiration to all lazy fellows and those with pessimistic thoughts.
    Your willpower is appreciated. Grow and reach the heights of success. Best wishes and prayers.

  • Sky, Katipalla

    Tue, Feb 18 2014

    Proud of you Bro.
    Hope you get more success in your life.

  • Praveen Aranha, gantalkatte

    Tue, Feb 18 2014

    God bless you Irwin and good luck


    Tue, Feb 18 2014

    Pure Inspiration!!!

    Irwin has struck the right chord on 2 very key aspects
    1. Self realization and managing yourself within those limitations
    2. Value of family and bonding -not pillars and concrete rather by lives..
    God bless you always.
    I really wish many of us had half the courage and willpower to go ahead in our lives the way you are doing it with so much joy.


    Tue, Feb 18 2014

    Hats of you Babu(irwin)my god bless are a real hero..and thank you for Melissa Nazareth as a lovely article

  • Sunil,

    Tue, Feb 18 2014

    God Bless Melissia for writing this Article and Irwin for keeping his never ending trust in the Almighty

  • Rakesh Dsouza, Mangalore, Dubai

    Tue, Feb 18 2014

    This is a great man. I saw him since many years. hats of to you Irwin.

  • S.M. Nawaz Kukkikatte , Udupi / Dubai

    Tue, Feb 18 2014

    Great Dear,

  • Jossey Saldanha, Mapusa

    Tue, Feb 18 2014

    In India most people with polio beg on the streets and make more money than normal people.
    Hats off to you IRWIN...

  • Roshan Braganza, Mumbai

    Tue, Feb 18 2014

    It's rare to see 'FOREST GUMP' phenomenon in real life , but Irwin is one of them. Words are easy to write , but when disaster strikes in life , we often render clueless , confused and agonized. The Irwin example can draw lots of inspiration i must salute him for his zeal and attitude. Earning his livelihood not depending on others is highly respected in society.


    Tue, Feb 18 2014

    God bless you.Best of luck

  • Amin Bhoja, Patte / Riyadh

    Tue, Feb 18 2014

    A challenge in life the destiny and it's livings.May 'GOD' bless him always.


    Tue, Feb 18 2014

    Marvelous Irwin, thrilled to hear this story. Guys time for us to give a standing ovation to this achiever. Keep the spirit growing....the best is yet to come.
    Good luck.

  • Alexander Prashanth Menezes, Karkala/Dubai

    Tue, Feb 18 2014

    Melissa, Lovely Article for those people who do not wish to see the light in their life. One must learn how to be happy through Erwin's life. The positivity that he envelopes in his life, is simply Great. I admire this gentleman for his self made attitude and for realizing his dream through hard work.


    Tue, Feb 18 2014

    Proud of you Babu..!

  • Anand, karkala

    Tue, Feb 18 2014

    Melissa, good article and it would have been a great help to commuters if you could have provided the number to call.
    Wishing Irwin a great life ahead.

  • Deepak, Paladka

    Tue, Feb 18 2014

    A real hero who is inspiring many to not lose hope at any situation. May god bless Irwin.

  •, Calgary, Canada

    Tue, Feb 18 2014

    Congrats Irwin. Positive attitude is the key.

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