I had a slight ‘car calamity’ this week. But as is often the case in our city, the crisis turned into an encounter that made me realise – once again – that Joburg people are the most caring people on the planet.
It was already dark when I was driving home in the pouring rain on Conrad Drive, just off Jan Smuts Avenue in Craighall Park this week. My car’s heater was on full blast in a desperate attempt to dry my sopping wet clothes and also to increase visibility in the rain. My car’s windscreen wipers were swishing away merrily. Smoke suddenly started pouring into my car and flames made it even more dramatic. I pulled up on the side of the road and switched the car off in the hope that the flames and smoke would miraculously vanish. I also switched on the hazard lights, because visibility was so bad.
I had barely jumped out of the burning car when a young man – the first hero in this story – ran up to my car and asked if he could help me. After dousing the flames he phoned a friend who is a mechanic. It was barely three minutes later when hero number two arrived on the scene. After checking the source of the smoke, he pulled out a smouldering spark plug – the cause of the problem.
While I saw visions of my car being towed away to the nearest garage, he told me I can actually drive home in my car. Although I didn’t want to believe him, I had no choice. And, yes, I arrived home safely.
He phoned me later to check if I got home safely and also sent me a contact number for a mechanic who specialised in fixing auto electrical issues.
As I am writing this column, my car is being fixed.
While so many people are bemoaning the dangers of the city, I realised once again that if I am ever in a crisis situation, I hope it will be in Joburg, the city that really cares.