“It’s sad that we live in a world where a good deed is such a big deal. Hopefully this story inspires others to do something good and make a positive difference in the world.”
There are two heroes in this story. One wasn’t even meant to be on the road that day, and the other risked his own safety to help a woman in need…
When All4Women read Tebogo Komane’s post on the popular #ImStaying Facebook group, we just had to learn more. We got in touch with Tebogo and one of her rescuers for the full story. This is why we love Mzansi. This is why we’re also #staying!
Tebogo Komane, a mom from Bedfordview was driving along the R21, and took the off-ramp onto the N1 when all-of-a-sudden she was completely overcome with fear. Shaking, sweating and heart palpitations – the clear signs of a panic attack.
The symptoms were something she recognised as she’d experienced panic attacks in 2005 after her father passed away. But the last one she recalls having was in 2009. “I think the whole pandemic has just created so much anxiety,” says Tebogo. “It’s playing a role in our mental health. I’ve found myself having more ‘bad days’ recently where I feel anxious and uncertain. But this panic attack was totally out-of-the-blue. I don’t know what triggered it.”
No space to pull over
Tebogo’s immediate thought was to pull over to the side of the road, but there was no yellow line or a shoulder on the off-ramp, and in her rear-view mirror loomed a massive truck. Trying to think clearly, she turned on her hazards, and slowed down, eventually coming to a stop.
Thankfully, the alert trucker realised that the vehicle in front of him was stopping and he slammed on brakes. He was able to avoid hitting Tebogo’s vehicle, and he climbed out of his cab to check what was happening.
At the same time, a man in a van overtook the two parked vehicles and drove on… only to slam on brakes and start reversing.
Tebogo’s guardian angels
The truck driver came to her window, but Tebogo couldn’t relate what was happening except to tell him that she was having a panic attack. She was trying to deal with the overwhelming symptoms, when the driver of the van came over to find out what was happening.
Barend van Dyk immediately took charge, and told Tebogo she needed to get the vehicle and herself off the road to safety, as she was in huge danger of a collision if she stayed on the off-ramp. He told her to move over into the passenger seat. Abandoning his own vehicle under the watchful eye of the trucker, Barend drove Tebogo over the bridge to a portion of the road that had a wide shoulder where she could wait safely.
He then walked all the way back to his car which had been kept safe in the shadow of the huge truck. Thanking the driver, he headed down the road back to Tebogo.
Tebogo’s husband – who had been driving in a car with the couple’s daughter a few kilometres ahead suddenly realised that something was wrong. Checking his rear-view mirror, all he could see was a huge truck, the large van and Tebogo’s car squashed between him. He could only picture the worst-case scenario.
He was able to reverse back to his wife, maintaining a distance in case his daughter saw something traumatic. On arrival, he met up with Barend and Tebogo and heard the whole scenario.
But that’s not where the story ends…
Upon hearing where Tebogo and her husband were headed, Barend realised that it was just a few kilometres from his own destination. He offered to drive behind Tebogo with his hazards on while her husband drove ahead of her to keep her safe to the end of her journey.
Not only did he risk his own safety on the N1, but he gave up his time to help a stranger.
All this after dealing with his own traumatic situation that morning!
Miracles in the madness
Barend from Pretoria North wasn’t even meant to be on the road on Saturday. But tragically, his beloved dog took a turn for the worse, and Barend had taken him to the vet.
Sadly his dog passed away that morning. While at the vet, Barend received a phone call which delayed his trip home for long enough that he was on the road at just the right time to see Tebogo in her time of need.
Why did you stop? All4Women asked him.
“I don’t know. I just had to,” says Barend. He simply doesn’t know what compelled him to stop and help, but he’s grateful that he did.
“It shouldn’t be such a ‘wow’ thing when someone does a good deed,” he says. “It’s sad that we live in a world where a good deed is such a big deal. Hopefully this story inspires others to do something good and make a positive difference in the world.”
Tebogo is grateful to both the trucker (who she wasn’t able to get the details of), and Barend. She is also hoping the story will raise awareness about mental health during this time of uncertainty.
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