Farmer’s kindness helps bus passengers

2014-09-20 00:00

A 10-HOUR ordeal by the passengers of a Greyhound bus trapped in Thursday’s blistering heat by after an oil spillage on the N3 highway, was made bearable by the kindness of a local farmer.

Dave Smit, a farmer near Lions River where an oil tanker spilled 20 000 litres of oil, spent his own money to buy the bus passengers food and drinks.

The bus was among hundreds of trucks and cars that were stranded by the closure of the N3 as a result of the spillage on an extremely hot and blustery day.

Smit told The Witness he had approached people stuck on the road to ask them to put out their cigarettes carefully so as not to spark any fires. The passengers of the bus asked him for water.

“I gave them the water, and I went back to my house and brought some other items — some food and cool drinks for them. I also gave them more water.”

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

“There were many people including children and elders.”

He said the bus company had offered to reimburse him the money, but he did not expect to be paid back.

Greyhound’s regional manager Srenika Royeppen said the company was very grateful to Smit.

She said when the passengers finally arrived at their destination some of them had complained about the delay.

“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. The little [food and water] we had on our way from Johannesburg did not last,” said one man.

The motorist said the authorities could have used vehicles that were seen patrolling the N3 to bring or sell water to the stranded motorists.

“There must have been more than 300 trucks there,” he said.

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