Today’s good people are just ordinary people … they didn’t plan or set out to be good people necessarily, but circumstances rather threw them into a situation where they had an opportunity to either jump in and help … or walk away. Needless to say, they didn’t walk away or I wouldn’t likely be writing about them. And these are people from all over the world, proving yet again that there are good people everywhere, that kindness is international and knows no boundaries.
Matthew Jenkins was on his way to pick up his kids from school when he saw that a bus from a different school had toppled onto its side. This was the result from a drag race between two Mustangs, both of which reportedly hit 110 miles-per-hour.
By the time Matthew arrived, smoke was coming from the vehicle. But because he was in the National Guard, he was able to use his emergency response training to help free the children who were stuck inside. He was also able to make sure that everyone else who was helping was doing so in a way that was safe.
Although two of the children will need surgery from the injuries they sustained, every single person involved is expected to make a recovery. And that’s something that was made possible in large part because of Matthew, a kind stranger who wasn’t afraid to put himself in harm’s way in order to save others.
Tongai Matandirotya has worked as a bartender at the Brass Bell Kalk Bay restaurant in Cape Town, South Africa for the past 8 years. Coworkers describe him as a “wonderful, loveable, fun human being.” After watching him vault into action to save lives after a freak accident on the shore, they’re adding another description to his character: Heroic.
Tongai was tending the bar one afternoon on a beautiful day with crystal-clear blue skies and calm seas. Tourists who had finished their lunch at the restaurant were strolling along the water’s edge, taking in the stunning ocean and mountain views, when suddenly a “wall of water” rose up and carried dozens of people out to sea.
“I saw this wave come over the harbour and it covered the people, dragging them into the ocean. I immediately ran outside, undressed myself, and dived into the water because I saw a child go in as well. I have a very soft spot for kids, and my instinct just kicked in to see if I could help.”
There was a powerful riptide at play, making it difficult for the shocked victims to get back to shore. Tongai had had the foresight to grab his belt as he took off his pants. He used the leather strap to pull people from the water, yelling for help as he worked.
One of the people Tongai rescued was Clair Gardiner and her 8-year-old daughter, Arya van Hilten. They were admiring the seals on the coast when the wave hit.
“As we walked, a massive rogue wave knocked us into the harbour. Some of the people weren’t able to swim. It was hectic. When you’re in the moment, it’s much more dramatic. All I remember was grabbing my kid when I knew we would go over into the sea. I wrapped my arms around her and managed to get us safely away from the heavy waves.”
Moments later, Arya began to slip away in the current. Clair screamed for help, and the next thing she knew Tongai and another tourist man who’d jumped in to help were in the water next to her. Tongai grabbed Arya and shoved her onto the rocky shore. Clair scrambled up behind them, exhausted.
“I recently went to the restaurant to thank him,” she said. “My daughter recognised him immediately, and we all embraced each other. We are so thankful to Tongai and the tourist man who risked their lives to save ours; we’ll forever be grateful to them.”
Thanks to Tongai and other helpers, no one lost their lives that day! Tongai is now being hailed a hero and praised for leaping into action in spite of the danger to himself.
Henry Temmermans’ evening commute went from mundane to extraordinary in a split second one evening.
Henry was driving on highway A28 in Nunspeet, the Netherlands, when he saw a car driving erratically. The vehicle veered off the road at one point, bumping over a grassy area before returning to the street. Concerned, Henry pulled up alongside the car and peered inside.
“What I saw was not good. It was clear that the lady was no longer conscious. I saw that the guardrail wouldn’t stop her.”
Realizing her car would continue to move unless something stopped it, Henry decided to do the unthinkable: He accelerated and put his own vehicle directly in her path. Even though she would crash into him, he knew the driver inside needed help, and the only way to provide it was by stopping the car.
“I didn’t hesitate for a moment. I had to do something.”
A driver behind Henry happened to have a dashboard camera rolling, and he captured the moment when Henry used his car to save the day. The dramatic footage is nerve-wracking, to say the least!
Once the car was stopped, Henry and the man behind him immediately jumped out of their vehicles and rushed to help the victim behind the wheel. They called for help and attempted to wake the unconscious woman up. It took several minutes before she came around, and then she was taken to a hospital. She had five broken ribs from the accident, but it could have been so much worse if Henry hadn’t intervened!
Henry’s car had to be towed from the scene, so the other Good Samaritan drove him home. A few days later, Henry received a phone call from the woman’s husband and daughter to thank him for being the hero she needed during her medical emergency. “They were very grateful to me,” he said.
Even though he saved a life, Henry demurs when people call him a hero. “I see it on social media. People say they are proud of me, call me a hero. But I don’t see myself that way. You are obliged to help people in need. I did what I had to do. That others that maybe wouldn’t is up to them.”
You just never know as you start your day what life might throw at you today, so be prepared, and when you get that opportunity, I know you’ll all show the world what a ‘good people’ you are!