Ode to strangers

There are a lot of good people out there — people who without a thought will extend a helping hand in a crisis, irrespective of who needs it. The recent case of Abang Baju Merah who loaned his motorbike to a couple who were struggling along the highway to push their own bike which had broken down is one more example of these everyday heroes.

Earlier, there was another story of how a man stopped his car, got out to help another whose vehicle had stalled and got hit by a passing vehicle while helping the other man out. He died. But, it shows the extent to which people will go to help others.

There are countless other cases and I’m sure you can add to this great volume of goodness in our midst.

I remember once, during a fasting month, there was an accident involving a motorbike and the rider went under the bus. It was during the morning rush hour and most people just whizzed by glad to come out of the jam the accident had caused. But, one motorist, as soon as he saw what happened, braked hard, jumped off his bike and went under to get to the trapped fellow. I don’t know what happened because I was on the other side of the road and had to move on with the traffic.

That day, I realised that there really are a lot of good people among us.

I, myself, owe strangers much.

I recall many years ago when I was offered a teaching job with the then LimKokWeng Institute (now LimKokWeng University) which was located somewhere along Jalan Tun Razak, past the National Library. I decided to go there a day before I started to be familiar with the route.

It was the evening peak hour and those days the traffic jams were horrendous. Worst still, it was pouring cats and dogs! I took a side road thinking it would take me to the bungalow the institute was housed in, but, suddenly, I found myself in the middle of a huge swathe of surging water and I panicked, losing my bearings, which often happens to me when I am in a new area or in a new environment and I lose my confidence.

I was looking this way and that, twisting and turning in my seat when suddenly I saw this man in front of my Suzuki, a cop, drenched with rain and he lifted the front of the car and set it a foot or so to my right and signalled me to move on.  I drove on, finding myself on the dry road again.

The thought that crossed my mind was: Where did he appear from?! I’ve no idea. If that man did not come to my rescue that day, I don’t know what would have happened to me!

Then, there was another time when my car stalled on the Federal Highway. This time, I was driving a second-hand Peugeot 504 (way before I got my first brand-new car, the Suzuki). Again, it was raining cats and dogs and, again, I was at a loss as to what to do. Again, a man got out in the pouring rain and helped push my car to the emergency lane. I was so panicked, I didn’t think to get out with an umbrella (which I had in the car) to, at least, shield him from the rain!

He told me to call AAM. Relieved, I muttered my thanks. He just waved at me and went back to his car.

There were many other times when I got help from strangers. I’m ever grateful to all these good people who came to my rescue at the right time.

To me, it is God helping us!

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