'Santa' arrives after accident

2006-12-07 07:21
Pretoria - Father Christmas came early for a handicapped man who crashed into a tree when a tyre burst - "Santa" paid for the towing and then gave him another car.

Beeld delivery-route organiser Stef Potgieter and his wife, Carla, were delivering newspapers at 05:00 in Waterkloof Village, when a tyre blew and he crashed into a tree.

Potgieter, who lost both legs in a mortar-bomb explosion in 1981, was sitting dejectedly in his wheelchair next to the crashed car when a man stopped next to him.

The stranger pressed R600 into his hand and said "it's a few rand to help with the cost of towing it in".

"I had just said to my wife that we would worry at home about how we were going to pay for the breakdown service," said Potgieter.

Wants to remain anonymous

But, that wasn't the last of Potgieter's "personal" Father Christmas.

A short while later he called the security guard in the complex to get Potgieter's details.

After that, he phoned Potgieter at least three times.

"First, he asked what the damage was, then he asked if I had to have an automatic, and then to say that a car had been arranged for us."

"My wife answered the phone the third time.

"She thought he was lending us a car and said 'Thanks very much, we'll fill it up before returning it.'

He replied: "No you don't understand, it's yours. She was speechless."

Their benefactor has asked to remain anonymous because he "did it to help a fellow human and not because I want publicity".

The 2002 Nissan Almeira, which has 67 000 on the clock, was delivered to Potgieter's house in Villiera on Wednesday afternoon.

McCarthy Toyota Brooklyn has undertaken to carry the extra costs to rebuild the car to Potgieter's special requirements.

'How do you say thank you'

A jubilant Potgieter told Beeld: "For the life of me, I did not think there were such people left on Earth."

"The R600 was already unbelievable, but where do you find someone who'll give a car to a complete stranger?"

"How do you say thank you to someone like that?

"Thank you just doesn't sound right?'

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