A Knysna fire victim who had lost everything, found a simple handwritten note inside the pocket of a donated jacket, restoring hope at one of the lowest points of his life.
Quentin Haman recalls the day he stood watching everything he owned being burnt to the ground as one of the lowest points in his life.
The tragic fires tore through Knysna on his 45th birthday, claiming his home and his business premises in its trail of destruction. Haman lost everything and only had the ash-covered clothes he was wearing to his name.
Haman had moved to the coastal town just six months before that, after suffering two heart attacks. He chose the quiet town as a place where he could heal and grow stronger while leading a stress free life.
That night, after tirelessly trying to fight the raging fires, and watching everything he owned being burnt to the ground, Haman was escorted to a donation point at the Knysna Montessori School in Welbedacht.
While standing in the queue, drenched and shivering from fight the fire, a kind volunteer placed a jacket over him.
Haman slipped his hand into one of the pockets where he found a note that would change his life… and restore his hope.
To the new owner of this black leather jacket…
We are so sorry for what you and your family are going through at this devastating time of the Knysna fires.
My husband wore this jacket on our wedding day. We eloped and got married in Cambridge, England. This jacket has come a long way!
I surely hope that you can find warmth when wearing it and putting your life back together.
Who knows – maybe one day the jacket will find its way back to us and we will have an amazing story to tell!
PS, remember that even through this – God is good, Jesus loves you and cries with you.
Human says that it felt like he was meant to find that jacket. It gave him a little bit of hope and made him realize that things would be fine… rough, but fine.
“As special as the jacket was, the note was more so.”
“A complete stranger on the opposite end of the country gave me an amazing gift of hope with a few kind words on a piece of paper and a leather jacket to wear.”
“I may have lost everything to the fire but not all was lost. “I can rebuild, I can start over. “As I told my mother the other day, ‘you have got to let it go and ask, who are we going to become in six months?’ This is a time to grow, to be better.”
Haman now carries the hopeful note with him every day, every where he goes.
The writer of the note, 36 year old Pretoria resident Inge Coetsee, said that when she was finding clothes to donate she had initially skipped the jacket as it had such sentimentality attached to it, but then called her husband.
“I said: Babe, that jacket is going – we have everything, health and our family, and those people have nothing,”
Haman and the Coetsees hope to meet in the future.