Her dogs had been poisoned and there was a huge gaping hole in her wall, the intruders had been there twice and were bound to come back, and the help she so desperately needed… were all on holiday.
Wendy Knowler, a journalist on KZN’s East Coast Radio, shared a story about how community members and neighbours cut into their own holiday time to assist a family in need.
I’ve worked through the festive season for the past few years, which has its perks – mainly the slowing of “please help!” emails from an avalanche to a trickle – but getting a response from corporates to my media queries is an exercise in frustration for the most part. I got a lot of out-of-office responses from my usual contacts, and that was that.
The festive season is also not the time to find yourself in desperate need of a plumber, washing machine repairer or, as some residents of Hilton, KZN discovered, a fence company. The area was hit by a wave of criminal activity over the Christmas-New Year period, leaving one household in desperate need of a fence repair.
My East Coast Radio colleague Diane Macpherson shared this story with me, and I think it’s worth sharing here.
“One of those affected was my friend, Krista Dong, who had two attempted break-ins in one week – the first in the early hours of Sunday December 30, and the second on New Year’s Eve.”
In both cases the intruders broke through her concrete perimeter wall and tried to gain entry to the house. To add to the trauma, she discovered that they had poisoned her three beloved dogs. Happily they survived, but it’s been a rough time for everyone concerned.
Because many businesses were closed for the holidays, she struggled to source materials needed to repair her boundary wall, including the pre-cast concrete slabs. She found most businesses that stocked these wouldn’t re-open for business for at least a week or even two. That’s a long time to wait when you have two gaping holes in your property and intruders intent upon gaining access and already familiar with the set-up.
“I helped Krista by phoning around on Thursday January 3, and had the same issue: everyone was closed for the holidays.
But then I had a bit of luck on Facebook. I found a fencing place, Obelix Fencing, and sent them a Messenger message, asking if they were open. I received a reply a short while later saying they were closed, but asking what I needed.”
Macpherson explained the situation and while they did not stock the precast concrete wall panels needed, Obelix Fencing sent her the contact details of several competitors to try.
“I tried them all. My Facebook message to Pinetown-based All Fencing Kzn – resulted in a reply and a phone call within about an hour. Owner Rod Vera, despite being on leave, was ready to help.”
First Rod drove in to the office to check his stock. Once he confirmed he had the seven panels she needed, he gave directions so Krista so that she could make the one-hour drive to his shop. Rod made his second trip of the day to again open up the shop when she arrived.
Along with his son, the two loaded the heavy panels onto Krista’s truck. He also gave her advice on materials she needed to pick up for a more secure installation.
“What a gem this man was, to disrupt his own holiday plans to help out a stranger in need. At only R87 per panel, this was obviously out of the goodness of his heart rather than for a big sale.
His kindness ensured that the wall was repaired right away, and that Krista and her pups would feel much safer a whole lot sooner.”
Another special mention must go out to Collin Govender of East Coast Concrete Fencing in the Verulam area. Appalled by the dogs being poisoned – having lost two pets that way himself – he also offered to go in to his factory while on holiday and give the panels to Krista free of charge!
The reason Krista went with Rod was that the panels he had in stock were the correct size, while Collin had slightly larger panels that would have required being cut down with an angle grinder.
“Thank you to all of these KZN heroes, who showed that business is not just about money but about heart and soul too!”