Take a note from the guy in the red bakkie.

Take a note from the guy in the red bakkie.

I thought with all the crap that’s going on around here you might need to hear this story.

On our way down to the Eastern Cape over December we stopped for a smoke and a leg stretch in a little town called Smithfield. We pulled over on the main drag of the town (which consists of a few restaurants, a post office and not much else) and took a few minutes to chill on the side of the road. After a little while I noticed an old white guy walking very slowly along the opposite side of the road. Having just come from the city, the bystander effect so typical of Jozi people kicked in and I automatically assumed the guy was ok… “shame” I thought, “he’s probably having a nice walk, getting some exercise the old chap”. I’m ashamed to say I didn’t give it another thought because, well, we exist in a city where so many people are crying for help, we learn to look the other way very effectively. I didn’t even notice when the man stopped and looked in trepidation at the probably really intimidating task of crossing the road, that is until a bakkie stopped. The red bakkie in the picture above was driving down the same road and suddenly screeched to a halt, stopping in the middle of the road The driver, a black guy probably in his early 40s, got out and without hesitation walked across the road and carefully offered his hand to the old man, who accepted looking relieved. The gentleman in the bakkie took the old guy’s hand and not only helped him across the road but walked him all the way into the post office while his car’s engine ran.

Who knows, maybe they knew each other and were old friends, but I’m pretty sure they weren’t. Kim and I literally shed a tear on the side of the road in a little town called Smithfield in the Free State, and left soon after.

I snapped this picture but didn’t want to get too close and invade a beautiful moment.

It’s easy to get swept up in all the negativity in SA at the moment, and certainly, we should be fighting back against anyone who tries to oppress or violate the rights of anyone else, but it’s good to step back once in a while and realise that there are good humans out there.

One day maybe we can be like bakkie guy, and just look after each other.

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[Edit: Please feel free to share this story as much as you like with the original link, but I would highly appreciate you requesting permission before republishing it to your blog or website]

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61 Comments

Peet van Heerden

about 5 years ago

We need lots more of this. The daily negative rubbish we are fed as news everyday makes everybody despondent about life. This is great. Well done to all involved in this story.

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Santie Pienaar (TerBlanche van Prieska)

about 5 years ago

Jy's reg Peet van Heerden. Ons moet meer met positiewe situasies gebombardeer word en dan sal ons almal meer ppositief dink en ingesteld wees op naasteliefde.

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Gusi Bock

about 5 years ago

Hi Peet I cannot help but cry at this beautiful story that brings hope into my life. You are right there is just too many negative stories and although we need both the good and the bad out in the public domain, these are the stories that need to be told so that the people who have lost hope in our country can see that there are good people left and that if we all just grouped together we can change things. Love and Peace.

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Glynis Severi

about 5 years ago

I think that is so cool and I too shed a tear. We are all human and all need to know we can trust and rely on our fellow human beings to stand by us. If we do not have one another on this planet what do we have? Nothing. Can we not all stand together and stop the hatred, wars, violence and destruction. Human beings are self destructive.. We do it on a daily basis all over the world and yet we are all made of the same fibre. .Why? I wish we could all, the whole world, give peace a chance.

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Ethel

about 5 years ago

Thanks so much for sharing this lovely story.

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Wendy

about 5 years ago

Thank you, this has brightened my day.

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Ntombozuko

about 5 years ago

This is a breath taking story,ive just had an amazing with an Angel wich I've met on Facebook, to hear more about my story ill post on Facebook.

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santjie

about 5 years ago

Wat 'n mooi storie! Thanks for sharing.

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Melinda Woodhead

about 5 years ago

Through the negative media reports, the negative view by outsiders, the people sweeping up negative emotions and inciting hatred, fuelling despondent, jaded and bleak opinions to further their own political agendas, I choose to live in a South Africa where I see more and more of this positive, let's work together and caring attitude as displayed in this article. It's not easy to build a positive nation when all you hear is negative...good for you on 'reporting' about something good...we need more positive attitudes, more caring to build a positive nation. Thank you for sharing!

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David Mthembu

about 5 years ago

Wow, thanks for this inspiring story. We will get there!

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Johan

about 5 years ago

Well done. We focus on all the bad news. We don't like Zuma. But all this outside focus bring us unhappiness. This due helping an old guy is the way to happiness. It's not what Zuma or the ANC can do or not do. It's what CAN YOU DO? Thanks for sharing a WHAT CAN YOU DO STORY ;-)

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Simone Cronje

about 5 years ago

Lovely story. Thank you for sharing.

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Erina

about 5 years ago

inspiring message.Thanx

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ray

about 5 years ago

it just shows that there are people out there who care, and we dont always appreciate it.

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Billi

about 5 years ago

Thank you SO much for sharing this heartwarming tale ~ there is much of this that happens in South Africa but we see/hear too little of it as it is not sensationalist enough for mainstream media. More stories like this may go a long way to heal the rifts between races in SA! And Well Done to the Africa gentleman for being a Mensch and helping an elderly person.

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Michelle

about 5 years ago

Die man met die rooi bakkie het sopas vir ons gewys hoe mens moet leef, sonder om te weet enigiemand sien sy goeie daad. HERO

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Jenny White

about 5 years ago

Thank you for this incredibly nice and uplifting story, made me very happy.

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Johann Greeff

about 5 years ago

Thank you very much for this story! I live in Smithfield and know that our town is probably one of the safest and friendliest town in South Africa. This story confirms that and I will do my best to promote it on facebook and my other sites!... https://www.facebook.com/smithfieldfreestate

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Jean René

about 5 years ago

Beautiful !!!!!!!!

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Simon Smith

about 5 years ago

Thank you for sharing such an awesome story. A random act of kindness. I Love it

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Hilary

about 5 years ago

Yes yes and yes. I believe this is happening all the time because I do it all the time and my friends do it too. Kindness is out there in abundance and there is no need to fear.

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Vinthi Neufeld

about 5 years ago

Wow!! Beautiful!!

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John-Peter Gernaat

about 5 years ago

Thank you for sharing. It would be wonderful if we could all live our lives being aware of the needs of other.

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Lynette

about 5 years ago

How about we all follow suit and just do one something similar. Can anyone imagine the ripple effect?

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Mpumi Bikitsha

about 5 years ago

Lovely story this. It's in our hands as citizens of this beautiful country to make it the South Africa we want to live in. It's doable by these simple acts of kindness.

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evan janse van rensburg

about 5 years ago

Wat n mooi storie ja dit gebeur nog maar ons kyk die ander pad wilnie etrokke raak nie ek persoonlik so n paar jaar gelede nadat ek n beroerte aanval gehad het en verlam is aan my linkerkant , maar dank die Here ek kan met kurk loop, ons het by n eet plek gstop en in gegaan toe ons uit kom moes ons n entjie loop na kar ek kon nie daar loop nie aangesien die grod baie glad was terwyl ons nog dink hoe gaan ons dit maak kom daar twee bikers aan loop verby ons en draai om ek elkeen neem n arm lig my op en dra my tot by die kar dit het als so vinnig gebeer dat ek nooit hul name kon kry nie net baie dankie gese en hul weg daar is nog engele op aarde " bikers" ek het groot fespek vir julle almal en baie dankie

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Gabi Le Roux

about 5 years ago

Random Acts of Kindness

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Stuart P. D. Fraser

about 5 years ago

This story makes me wonder why I ever left the country of my birth this is a small country town and part of my growing up years at boarding school in a similar type country town, you could not wish to meet a happier people. My memories of the farm of these folk, who sing going to work, sing all day at work and sing all the way home after work. The gentleman in question has probably done this all is life, we could learn so much from these country folk... take care

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Andries Groenewald

about 5 years ago

Great ... much more goodwill out there than any corrupt politian will ever realise!

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Nadia

about 5 years ago

Damn onion-cutting ninjas making me tear up again ;') Thanks for sharing this sweet tale!

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Shannon

about 5 years ago

Thank you for that little bit of good news. I don't think the media really cares ,that feeding the world with negativaty is going to breed negativity. And the more we have stories like these it will show our government that we are NOT a racist country and we are here to build a better future for everyone!

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deborah

about 5 years ago

Thank you for taking the time to share this with all of us. well worth the time, This is the South Africa I want to live in. x

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G COETZEE

about 5 years ago

THANKS FOR WRITING ABOUT THE BETTER STUFF!

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Zina Dale

about 5 years ago

A beautiful story, I feel quite tearful! Such a shame that most people can't take a few minutes of their time each day to help someone in need.

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George Matlhwana

about 5 years ago

This is so encouraging, lets all practice the good things for change...Well done!

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Precious Seobi

about 5 years ago

Beautiful story indeed ....... this is a good lesson to all of us.

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PHILIP METTER

about 5 years ago

TYPICAL SOUTH AFRICA, THE AVRAGE MAN, WOMAN & CHILD OUTSIDE OF THE MAJOR METROS IS KIND, HELPFUL & CONSIDERATE. THE MAJOR METROS BREED INSECURITY, INTOLERANCE AND I DON'T GIVE A DAMN ATTITUDE.IN THE LARGE CENTRES DO AFRIKAANERS MIX WITH THE ENGLISH AND VICE VERSA, DO JEWS MIX WITH CATHOLICS AND THE OTHER WAY ROUND, DO WHITES MIX WITH BLACKS? YES! IF YOU ARE UNDER THE AGE OF ABOUT 25 THERE IS PRACTICALLY NO DIVISON. I HAVE VARIOUS FRIENDS WHOSE KIDS RANGE, IN AGE FROM ABOUT 10 TO ABOUT 22. I GO TO THEIR HOMES, THEY HAVE KIDS OF EVERY HUE, BLACK, WHITE, PINK, YELLOW, POLKA DOT, OF EVERY RELIGIOUS PERSUASION SLEEPING OVER, DO THE PARENTS MIX? NO THEY DON'T. MIXED GOVT. SCHOOLS HAVE BROUGHT THIS PHENOMENON( IN SA THIS IS A PHENOMENON) ABOUT. THE PARENTS STILL STICK WITH "THEIR OWN SORT." SAD BUT TRUE.

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Nico

about 5 years ago

And this confirms my opinion that hatred an racism is fueled by polititions and the minority in South Africa. The majority knows what is kindness and how to to live in harmony.

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Thabiso Sithole

about 5 years ago

Thank You...

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Andrew

about 5 years ago

you see that quite a lot in the small karoo towns.

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nico de villiers

about 5 years ago

Thank you for sharing something positive. I truly believe that circumstance is just that. It is not defining if us. How we choose to react defines us.

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brett Fish anderson

about 5 years ago

Thankx Matt - this is so great - need more of these but more importantly need more of people telling these stories cos this stuff happens every day all over our beloved country and we just need to be screaming these stories louder than the negative ones. Thank you so much! love brett fish

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Andre

about 5 years ago

Posted your blog article on Good News South Africa - the Facebook page. So far it has has 19000 views and rising. Who say good news does not sell?

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Jed

about 5 years ago

this is beautiful.

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Ian

about 5 years ago

I think when we notice the good deeds of others we notice something about ourselves. I had a similar experience a while back and wrote about it on my blog. Hope you like my story as well - you can read it here (thanks for sharing your 'moment' - I think that's as important as noticing them!) http://www.beingabetterman.net/2013/09/06/better-people/

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Elize vd Linde-Anderson

about 5 years ago

Dit is so mooi storie. Absoluut great om te hoor. Ek glo daar is soveel meer sulke goedheid en guns stories, hoe gering ookal, maar die sleg, die negatiewe oordonder dit so! Bv van gister se artikels in Volksblad vertel ons soveel negatiewe stories, maar ek het ten minste vyf daarvan vir my man gelees, met my tong in my kies, want daar is eintlik soveel om oor te lag weens die belaglikheid daarvan. En om die "humorsin" daarin te sien, is veel meer pret as om jou polse daaroor te sny. En die storie tesame met jong dogter wat ou dame by Pick a Pay gehelp het vandag, laat nens se hart eerder chocolates pomp!

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Peter owen

about 5 years ago

We all have a future if we take care of one another, if not .....?

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Stan

about 5 years ago

We always expect lightening and thunder when God speaks to us. Perhaps this is the reason we always miss what He is saying to us.

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alex

about 5 years ago

Die bestuurder van die bakkie het liefde in sy hart wat hy van God ontvang het, daarom dat hy oor naasteliefde beskik. Pragtige voorbeeld hie God se liefde in die praktyk werk. Dankie vir die storie. Alex

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Ashley Mac Donald

about 5 years ago

Angels walk among us, and as the bible says, we will know them by their fruits. WOW what a story.

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Gugu

about 5 years ago

I am bawling my eyes out at work! This is just too touching! *proudsouthafrican*

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Simon

about 5 years ago

Check out sagoodnews.co.za

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jay

about 5 years ago

Thank you for sharing - i've been touched by such a person before. I don't know where they are in the world today but I'll always remember them. Awesome.. *smiling*

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Sherry Walklett

about 5 years ago

It takes a beautiful spirit to recognise the beauty in others. That you chose to share the story makes it even more poignant since you are asking others to stop and to notice. Maybe we should start a blog where we all contribute a good news story at least once a week (or day...). Thank you for sharing the beauty.

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mattsuttner

about 5 years ago

Thank you, I really appreciate your message. Great idea on the blog.

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Helene

about 5 years ago

How about we ALL try to be the bakkie guy?

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Dalaien Claassens

about 5 years ago

Ja, volgende keer is ek of jy dalk in daardie posisie, ons is nie verhewe of dink dit kan nie met ons gebeur nie. Maak tyd vir ander.

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Anell van der Merwe

about 5 years ago

The old man in the story is actually family of ours...

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mattsuttner

about 5 years ago

Hi Anell, that's very interesting. Does he remember the event? I would love to find out if he knew the guy. Thank you

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Peter Tuck

about 5 years ago

Gooday its great to see a FB page that engages with the reader on a number of levels - really appreciate this!. Im an ex Saffer - Cedara 1978, now living in Oz and really enjoyed you page. Cheers and thanks,

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