Look around for Sandra or Henry
The question: ‘‘If you saw a nasty incident developing near you, what would you do – or have you done already ?’’
Sandra Haynes read it in my last column in this newspaper and reached for her keyboard:
‘‘I was at Beach Haven Wharf one sunny Sunday afternoon with my two young daughters. A few other families were on the little beach. I heard a verbal domestic from the grassy area – a couple with young children.
‘‘The woman involved – obviously scared – approached families, asking if anyone had a cellphone so that she could phone the police.
‘‘She’d been beaten by her partner before and was scared that it was about to happen again. The families didn’t have cellphones – and they looked away.
‘‘She asked me if I had cellphone and unfortunately didn’t.
‘‘Her partner approached us and started yelling at her in front of everybody. My blood boiled red – and all five foot two of me approached this man and told him in no uncertain terms to go away from this beach.
‘‘I told him nobody wanted to hear him and to take his verbal abuse somewhere else. Thankfully, after eyeballing me for what seemed a long time, he walked away.
‘‘I was left with shaking legs and afterwards thought to myself that was a dumb thing I did, a mother with my two children. It could have easily all gone wrong and turned on me – the guy was a lot bigger than a I me. On reflection I wondered if some of the others on the beach would have come to my aid had it turned nasty?
‘‘My sense of justice made me do it. We should all be able to enjoy an outing without having to witness this sort of thing. However, if I had had time to think about the situation, I don’t know if I would have stood up to this man.
‘‘Well that’s my story. I have done it – and fortunately for me I didn’t get hurt. I can’t say the same for the woman involved in the verbal domestic!’’
Henry van Dijk, ‘‘six foot-plus, healthy, fit retired business man’’, Onewa Rd:
‘‘Every time I read about violence of one or more humans on other humans or innocent animals, my hackles rise and I know how I would react if I was on the spot and was a bystander/observer.
‘‘Two options: Race into the scrap and possibly get injured myself – or be self-protective and turn a blind eye.
‘‘But I know with my training in judo, an ex-Dutch national team rugby player 1950s, and ‘capped’ as well, being an ex-military Special Forces Green Beret Commando Trooper (like SAS), thoroughly trained in unarmed combat against armed opponents, I would most likely dive into the melee.
‘‘Otherwise I’m a very peaceful character who is vegan, doesn’t eat dead animals. In New Zealand, we have stringent rules about ‘over reacting’, and I may not easily stop in subduing an attacker and could get involved in an expensive and lengthy court proceeding.
‘‘To answer your question: I wouldn’t hesitate to help the victim, even barehanded. Few things feel as good as making a massive tackle.
‘‘If I saw the problem from my car, I’d take the heavy steering wheel lock with me to operate a noholds-barred success in my and the victim’s favour.’’
Based on their quick reaction to my question, if you suddenly need help, try a quick check around to see whether Sandra or Henry are in earshot – and whether Henry has his all-purpose steering wheel lock at hand.
Helping hands: Would you step in or watch? Some of our readers have no qualms about putting others before their own safety.