Most of us who have travelled for any length of time will know that you meet some great people on the road. When Rob and I spent a year caravanning around Australia, we heard story after story about Good Samaritans – like the caravanner who unhitched his own caravan to hitch up Al and Trish’s van when their car died on the Gibb River Road, to tow them to nearby Home Valley Station.
Our son Brendan, wife Kim and their 3 kids aged 13, 10 and 7 are currently holidaying in Queensland. We lent them our BT50 to tow their renovated camper trailer, because our 4WD had a roomier back seat for the kids than Brendan’s Navara.
They were bowling down the Bruce Highway (yeah, I can see you shaking your head already) about 40 k’s north of Rockhampton when Brendan felt a ‘bit of a wobble’. He had to drive another kilometer or so before the shoulder was wide enough to pull over, and even then it was in a dangerous spot with a drop-off on one side and trucks roaring by on the other.
He was gobsmacked to see that a tyre on the trailer had completely shredded; the rim was buckled and metal from the tyre had wrapped itself around the axle. Not a simple tyre change.
They got the kids out of the car to a safer spot well off the road, and Kim walked up the highway a short distance, waving a bright turquoise umbrella to alert oncoming traffic, while Brendan took a closer look at the damage.
They called us to get roadside service details, and the NRMA phoned them direct with details for the Queensland service, but meanwhile… along came The Good Samaritan in the form of Wayne, a safety officer from the mines. He checked out the damage, told Brendan there was a servo about 4-5 k’s down the road at Yaamba, and he’d be right back.
Off he went in his Subaru, and came back with a hacksaw, bolt cutters and a crowbar provided by the owner of the servo, who had gone home to get them.
Meanwhile, along came Good Samaritan No. 2: a traffic controller who had, sadly, had a workmate killed on the same stretch of highway the day before. He spotted Kim, “looking like Mary Poppins waving that umbrella”, and stopped immediately to lay out traffic cones and warn oncoming traffic properly, glad for the opportunity to make things a bit safer for somebody else.
Within half an hour, the kids were back in the car and they were safely on their way. Neither Wayne nor the traffic controller would accept anything for their help: Wayne simply said “Just pay it forward, mate.”
So: thanks to Wayne, the traffic controller, and to Glen at the Servo owner in Yaamba who didn’t hesitate to go home and get the tools needed and hand them over to a stranger. If you’re going through Yaamba, stop and buy some fuel and supplies at the servo opposite the pub and tell them you read this. If you know Wayne or the traffic controller, tell them again how grateful we all are that there are people like them in the world.
Postscript: 2 days after this post, I got a text message from Brendan. It said: “Helped a guy broken down on the side of the road today. Nice to be able to pay it forward. Only a 100km zone this time!”