Farmer’s kind­ness helps bus pas­sen­gers

Weekend Witness - - Ne Ws - THAM­SANQA MA GUBANE

A 10­HOUR or deal by the p as­sen­gers of a Grey­hound bus trapped in Thurs­day’s blis ter­ing heat b y aft er an oil spillag e on the N3 high way, was made bear­able by the kind­ness of a lo­cal f armer.

Dave Smit, a f armer near Lions River w here an oil t anker spilled 20 000 litres of oil, spent his o wn money t o bu y the bus p as­sen­gers food and drink s.

The bus was among hun­dreds of trucks and car s that were stranded by the clo­sure of the N3 as a r esult of the spillage on an ex­tremely hot and blus tery da y.

Smit told The Wit­ness he had ap­proached peo­ple s tuck on the r oad to ask them t o put out their cig arettes care­fully so as not ot spark any fires. T he p as­sen­gers of the bus asked him f or wa­ter.

“I gave them the wa­ter, and I went back to my house and brought some other items — some f ood and cool drinks f or them. I also g ave them more wa­ter.”

Smit said he could not help ev­ery­one but was able to as­sist the peo­ple close t o where he w as.

“There were many peo­ple in­clud­ing childr en and elder s.”

He said the bus company had of­fered to re­im­burse him the mone y, but he did not xpecte to be paid back.

Grey­hound’s r egional manag er Srenika Royep­pen said the company was v ery gr ate­ful t o Smit.

She said when the pas­sen­gers fi­nally arri ved at their de sti­na­tion some of them had c om­plained about the dela y.

“It was to­tally out of our con­trol, there was noth­ing that we could do. No one could get to them,” she said.

Other mo­torists were irate at the ex­tremely long road clo­sure and the al­leged “don’t care” at­ti­tude of the au­thor­i­ties.

“We were stuck there for hours. We couldn’t go any­where. That area has no shops. T he lit tle [food and wa­ter] we had on our way from Jo­han­nes­burg did not las t,” said one man.

The mo­torist said the au­thor­i­ties could have used v ehi­cles that were seen p atrolling the N3 t o bring or sell wa­ter to the stranded mo­torists.

“There must have been more than 300 truck s ther e,” he said.

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