About a week ago I was reminded (again) that there are always people who are willing to help, even when the circumstances are really shitty.
My car started making a weird noise, so rather than wait until I was busy and back at work to fix it, I decide to take it to the mechanic while I am still on leave. Hence I set forth, stupidly thinking the traffic would be quiet just after Christmas, and find myself stuck on the National road heading into town amidst bumper to bumper traffic.
It was here that my fan belt slipped. Of course I didn’t know what was wrong, just that suddenly my car kept stalling and wouldn’t start again. In the middle of crazy season traffic. On the main road. Trucks and all. After what was probably twenty of the most stressful minutes in the last few months I finally come to a complete stop in the middle of the intersection between what is basically highway traffic.
Just in case I wasn’t already freaking out about all the people trying to get passed me I have both of my children in the back of the car too, just for fun. I am afraid to say, I freaked. I panicked and more than just a little bit. My car will not start for love or money. I can’t get hold of the emergency services on the phone. I am stuck. My kids are too scared to even complain, they are just deathly silent.
I sit for what feels like a very long time trying to start the car when at last a jeep pulls to a stop on the pavement up ahead. Three sandy beach type girls jump out and rush blondely to my aid. At the same time a local surfer dude I know also materializes from somewhere far down the road and the four of them literally pushed my car, with my kids and I inside it, through the intersection, into a side road and to safety.
I was so grateful that when I got out of my car to say thank you I burst into tears. I am not one of those girls who is pretty when she cries. My face sort of disintegrates.
But the surfer dude still came up to me to say hi at the beach a few days later, we even shared a little moan about the beach cricket players, and the girls big smiles will stay with me for a long time.
What’s more is that it only took the mechanic a minute to fix the problem and he wouldn’t charge me for the job.
You see, we may live in a rough country, but it’s a country full of good people. Well, our little piece of this country, at least. There will always be someone to help you push your car out of the intersection. And some of them will still talk to you even if they have seen your face disintegrate recently. This is why I love the garden route, South Africa. People are keeping it real. I do notice, though, how it is more often than not, not the rich people in the fancy cars that jump out to help, but the working class, everyday people who are the kindest. I guess you are more likely to be helpful when you know what it feels like to need help.
I did notice that they all had surf boards in tow….