At the end of last week as Port Elizabeth was still suffering the consequences of a protracted, violent taxi strike, a Gateway News reader sent us the testimony below, explaining that “in light of all the negative press surrounding taxi strikes, etc. I thought I’d share a good news story”
With all the concern, hysteria, fear and uncertainty over the taxi strikes, tyre-burning and stone throwing this morning and the 9th Ave intersection, so clearly highlighted in photos hazed with burning fire smoke, yet clearly capturing the uproar of citizens, I wanted to share a good news story of an incident that restored my belief in humanity of the people of Gqeberha.
I am a white, female, middle-aged, single woman and spend quite a lot of time alone in my vehicle. Habitually, with the inbuilt caution of my make up and knowledge that sometimes a red robot does not mean STOP in other’s terms, I slowed my vehicle at this self-same robot early one evening a few weeks back, darkness approaching.
Seconds later, a man driving a delivery scooter, slowing to a stop at the same intersection had an accident in front of me. My car came to a slow halt, hazard lights flashing, as the scooter driver rolled out of the way of oncoming traffic.
Within seconds and without hesitation I had launched myself out of my vehicle to go to his aid. Unwise, you might say…? Human, I reply.
As first responder, and ascertaining that the gentleman’s injuries were non life threatening, hand on his shoulder to provide calm contact, the steps towards action began coming together as I assisted bystanders (young men, taxi drivers and fellow scooter delivery drivers) to assist me assist him.
Turn the scooter off and move it out of the flow of traffic bending its way in a slow line behind my car. Send the taxi to buy the gentleman a coca cola for the initial shock. Slow down traffic to remove box and shattered glasses from the road. And without hesitation hand my keys over to a complete stranger to move my vehicle out of the road and onto the road verge.
For not one moment did I feel threat nor fear; for not one second did I anticipate danger. The gentleman now safely stored, straight-legged in the back seat of my vehicle, scooter drivers rallied to limp his scooter to the nearest petrol station for safe keeping. When this proved painstakingly slow, a bakkie pulled up and further assisted us.
One word with the petrol station manager and a quick, laughter-filled head and scooter count later to make sure everyone was returned to their own mode of transport, with much thanks to the generosity of their help, I noted the taxi driver chatting to our accident victim and him sitting with 500ml Coca Cola in hand.
I was left in absolute awe at the goodness of strangers to help one of their own, even as they must have been quite taken aback by a white woman in their midst. Being informed later that none of the individuals actually knew the victim, it felt good that at the core of all us is care and humanity.
A trip to Livingstone Hospital with a 20 minutes wait for my charge to be assisted and then a further 40 minutes< for intake and cleaning up and stitches to his damaged leg, I dropped him at home in Central and was home at 9pm at the latest.
I am safe. I am content. And I am greatly encouraged at the generosity of heart and spirit of our people.
- The author of this testimony requested to remain anonymous