An elderly Indonesian banana seller has had a sudden upturn in fortune after strangers rushed to donate to his family when he was robbed and left destitute at the side of the road.

Suratman, 94, who is known only by one name, was found distressed and crying last week by his roadside banana stall in the province of Jambi on Sumatra island, by Tommy Reza, a passing motorcyclist.

Mr Reza stopped to help after he heard the man shouting that he had been robbed.

Suratman explained that he had been asked by three men to get into their car to sell them fruit.

They claimed that they were too embarrassed during the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan to be seen openly buying food. But when he entered the car, they forced him to hand over his wallet.

Supporters all over Asia chipped in 
Supporters all over Asia chipped in 

Suratman said that he had lost his savings of over 1 million Rupiah, the equivalent of £59, which he had needed to buy new furniture.

But Suratman’s sad tale had a heartwarming end when Reza posted a video and explanation of what had happened on Facebook, asking for donations to help.

The post chalked up over 85,000 views and so many were outraged by the old man’s treatment that money started to flow from as far afield as Hong Kong and Malaysia.

Mr Suratman had been saving the money to buy furniture
Mr Suratman had been saving the money to buy furniture

A few days after the viral post, over 37m Rupiah [ £ 2,189] had been donated. The local governor also gave 5m Rupiah [ £ 295] and bought his remaining banana stock.

A picture of a happy-looking Suratman and his wife, receiving the money from Reza, was later posted by the BBC.

“He was very grateful and he was praying. I told him that I was only the messenger,” Mr Reza said.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.