Thanks to All Good Samaritans

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.

tyre shredded on Bruce Highway

Just when you need a Good Samaritan…

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!”


Thanks to All Good Samaritans — 14 Comments

  1. We broke down just outside Katherine N.T in May and we had several people with vans stop to ask if we needed help. We had already called for roadside assistance from RACQ so we thanked them and waved them off. It is good to see good samaritans are still around.

  2. She sure did. Sounds like a top idea, but it will be a while before I can make it. Pat’s off to Adelaide, then Rob and I are travelling. Maybe April? !!!! 🙂

  3. We travelled the Bruce Hwy last year from Cairns to Rainbow Beach so we are not surprised to hear about ‘shredded tyres’. Heard from fellow campers many stories of damage to their cars and vans. Have followed your travels Marg and Rob eversince we met you in Mildura on Australia Day in 2011 where we all sat around the BBQ at the caravan park. Have enjoyed several trips since. Happy travelling!.

    • Ah yes, we remember that day well! It was a great day. Very relaxed… wow, it’s almost two years ago! We’ll have a toast to all our friends from Mildura THIS Australia Day.
      Where will you be – at home or on the road?

      We’re heading off back that way in March – not as far as Mildura, but along the Murray. Looking forward to it! Just bought myself a new coffee machine for the van.

      Let us know where you’re going and when just in case we manage to catch up. 🙂 (You can email us at robmarg100 AT – just write “@” instead of AT.)

      Might be a while before we tackle the Bruce Highway though! Oh, wait, no it isn’t… later this year, in fact! Note to self: carry lots of spare tyres…

  4. Hi Marg,
    WOW, how frightening for Brendan and his wife, and how wonderful to have two Good Samaratians.

    I went all ‘goosey’ reading the post, and glad all turned out well.

    Hope to catch up with you and Rob soon, before you take off in April.

    Hugs Janet

    • Hey Buckos…. Yes, they were a bit scared, especially with the kids there.
      They were lucky they had not one but two great people stop to help!
      We’re actually heading off in March – back in April!

  5. Marg, this shredded tyre looks remarkably like one that is ‘stuck’ to a tree in van park at Lightning Ridge, ( on our last trip) with a story printed underneath it. I dont remember any details of where it happened, but it could almost be the same tyre!!!!

    • Scary indeed. Brendan said they didn’t feel much at all… just a wobble, and he thought he might have a flat tyre, and pulled over as soon as he could – which was about 1k down the road. He couldn’t believe what he saw!
      Ironically, about 500m further down the road there was a nice wide spot to pull over. Of course they couldn’t see it because of the bend in the road…

  6. Hello again Marg &Rob, Your account of son Brendan & Family’s tyre event on the Bruce Hwy. brings home the hidden dangers on the of that Hwy. We see the remnants of so many shredded tyros & know that there is a horror story behind most of them. Another one that worries us is the depth of the drop-offs at the sides of the road (which you also mentioned). We tow a large Crusader van, they are a bit on the heavy side but don’t know it when rolling along, but were there to be an unexpected event, there is no where to pull up & in most cases one must roll a good distance to find one. If on the other hand the incident required veering to the left, all would be lost if alongside the drop off. We drive frequently between the Bribie Island turn off & Coloundra area & are constantly reminded of tragedy with the number of vehicles down the side. We feel that by traveling in a very safe manner & never speed, staying alert & relaxed all SHOULD be fine – but as my driving instructor said many many years ago ” you must always be ready for action not only for your own actions but those of other drivers”. It really is frightening with the amount of lane hopping while at speed that some drivers undertake causing the line of traffic in front of you to brake suddenly & hard, also passing slower vehicles with no care for the distance required to do this. Stay safe & enjoy your travels everyone. Thank God it all turned out well for your family Marg & Rob. Barbara.

    • Hi Barbara… it’s really something all right. We’re beginning to think we’ll vote for any government that will fix the Bruce Highway!
      But as you say… it’s most often the other person you have to watch out for (although the ‘other person’ might well have lost control because of a shredded tyre on the Bruce Highway!)
      Rob responded to Brendan’s Facebook post (showing the pic of the shredded tyre) with a comment: “Another victim. Score. Bruce highway 4797 caravaners 8. Got to be the worst bit of main highway in Aussi”. 🙂

  7. Hi Marg
    Read about your poor sons mishap, and found it no surprise, to us.
    John and i are frequent travellers up and down the Bruce hwy.
    As we live in the northern suburbs of Brisbane and have family in the sunshine coast, we constantly, witness poor unsuspecting ,caravanners finding themselves in trouble on that poor excuse of a main hwy!!! I have to admit,John and i have constantly shaken our heads watching, cars chopping in front of people towing, and not towing for that matter!!! It is a dangerous road, and in bad need of an upgrade. Maybe if everybody driving up here from interstate dropped an email to our “pollies” here we may have some action on the badly needed “Bruce Hwy” upgrade, before it takes more lives, and costing poor motorists a fortune in tyres, by simply travelling up the Hwy just trying to have a holiday.

    • Hi Helen,
      Can you imagine the size of a petition to improve the Bruce Highway? You’d need a fleet of trucks to take it to Parliament!

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