Good Samaritan helps woman thrown from car
Mpho Raborife, News24
Johannesburg – The woman who helped a stranger who was pushed out of a moving car along a highway, says society has lost touch with its humanity.
When Pam Green decided to take the N12 highway in Johannesburg on her way home on Friday night, she did not expect to see something that would ultimately haunt her and cause her sleepless nights.
“I saw something out of the corner of my eye, but carried on driving. And then, 100m further down, I looked in my review mirror and realised that what I had seen was REAL!” she wrote in a post on Facebook three days later.
“A woman had been pushed out of a moving car, her limp body had tumbled down the grass embankment, and landed in a heap in the emergency lane!!! OMG that’s a woman I screamed and reversed as fast as I could,” Green said.
She was not prepared for what would happen next.
“She was screaming, not in pain at first, but in fear: ‘He’s coming back, go, he’s coming back to kill me’,” the woman told Green. Instead, Green called the police service’s emergency helpline 10111.
She was told to contact the 112 ambulance services.
Green then tried cellular network operator MTN’s emergency services line. She was asked to stay on the line for almost eight minutes and transferred from one agent to another. After being put through to the fourth agent, she refuses to continue being put on hold and explains the situation. The agent puts the phone down on her.
“Yes the MTN South Africa emergency line call centre agent put the phone down on me because I was screaming for help. So please, if you are ever in a life threatening emergency, make sure you speak politely and softly to the inhumane human on the other end of the line, because calling him sir, saying please, is much more important than the person’s life you are trying to save!!!” Green wrote.
The injured woman tried to get up and run off, but was in pain and mumbling words Green could not understand.
Moments later, Lundi, a private security guard working for Hlokomelang security services, approaches the women and asked if they need help.
Green and Lundi took the woman to Green’s car while still calling for help. Eventually, after logging a second call to the police helpline, Green got help.
“Within 30 seconds, 2 fire engines, an ambulance, a tow truck, 2 flying squad cars, and 4 plain clothes detectives arrived on scene. Hallelujah! I burst into tears!
“The ambulance paramedics immediately attended to the woman and told me which hospital they would be going to. I got contact numbers and said an emotional goodbye,” Green said.
She furnished the detectives with all the information that she had. After she told them that the woman’s husband was the perpetrator, they immediately stopped talking to her and left.
“Yes, they left. I feel completely let down by our emergency services. Neither the Flying Squad, nor the MTN South Africa emergency line were helpful. It was a full hour before this poor woman received medical treatment. Where is our concern or care for human life?
“I keep playing this conversation between her and I: ‘I don’t know why you are helping me, you don’t know me, you saved my life’. I answered ‘I’m human, you’re human, this is what we do for each other’. She replied ‘Pam not even the police care, why do you?’”
That short conversation left Green feeling hopeless.
Trauma and sleepless nights
“I don’t believe in our people. We live in a country where we are scared to stop and help another human being, where the people who should keep us safe don’t care. We have lost our humanity.”
Since publishing the post, more than 9000 people had shared it on Facebook and more than 2000 people had commented on it.
Green, who made news for trying to help a Sandton street beggar turn his life around last year, is no stranger to helping others.
During an interview with News24 on Tuesday, she expressed her disappointment in those who implied that she had published the post to get attention.
She wrote it because she felt traumatised.
“I haven’t slept since Friday night. When I write it down, it helps get it out. I don’t really sleep. Whenever I fall asleep I have nightmares. I had no intention of this massive viral post.”
She said she was seeing a counselor. She hoped the woman she had helped was safe. Green had been unable to contact her because her phone was off.
Green said she was trying to find something positive which came out of the traumatic experience. She realised that if she had been paranoid and selfish enough to continue driving, the woman may not have survived.
“We have become desensitised and selfish. I know that crime is high but when do we worry about others? I just wish that we cared for each other more.”
Although she appreciated the likes and shares that her Facebook post had received, she wished people would do something for others, then mention it on social media to encourage compassion.
“We have become a society of words not action. Ultimately it is our responsibility to do something, don’t just talk. Let’s make humanity and being kind to others go viral, instead of all this negative stuff.”
She has even suggested a hashtag which could be used to drive the movement; #BringBackOurHumanity.
Green suggested that MTN take extreme measures to ensure that what she and the other woman experienced did not happen again with future callers.
MTN said it was investigating and would ensure it did not happen again.
“We have already begun a complete review of every aspect of this service. This includes the training of our agents, the process we follow with emergency response providers (including the police and ambulance services) and exploring various technologies to make it easier to locate callers,” spokesperson Ideshini Naidoo said.
As part of its licensing obligations to provide emergency services to the public, MTN had contracted a third party to ensure that any calls from the MTN network were routed to the appropriate emergency service.
MTN apologised to Green and commended her for her actions.