Submitted by: Michelle Coelho Simoes 

KINDNESS (noun): loaning someone your strength instead of reminding them of their weakness

We never thought that we would be in the position to help someone or pay it forward like so many people have in the #ImStaying movement, but a series of unfortunate events led a handful of people to meet in a hospital room and changed a person’s life for the better.

It began when my brother had an accident and was admitted to hospital – OR Tambo Memorial in Boksburg.  He had broken his heel and elbow and, as it happened on a Friday, so he could only see the surgeon on the Monday to decide if they needed to operate. 

During this time he met various men that were in the same ward, all with different stories of how they were injured.  One gentleman had a hip replacement. The two Seans had both had motorbike accidents and funnily enough, they knew each other.  Jozi, who collects scrap metal, was walking with his two friends when they were attacked by ZamaZamas. These men crushed his left hand, broke both of his friend’s hands, and then pushed his friend down a mine shaft. (He passed away, sadly.)  The third friend ran away to escape.  

Jozi, with rods sticking out of his hand, would help everyone in the ward.

Despite this trauma, Jozi, with rods sticking out of his hand, would help everyone in the ward and could not sit still until my brother brought in his router and they all had wi-fi – Sunday was very quiet in the ward, so they could watch soccer!

It was on this Sunday afternoon that we met Anathi.  Standing at my brother’s bed, I asked him what had happened to his new neighbour.  He shrugged and said that he was new. Every now and then we would hear a little sob and my sister-in-law said that he was crying.  I looked at him and he was just lying there, trying to be as quiet as possible. After a few moments, I said ‘bugger this’ and went over to him and just started rubbing his shoulder and saying that everything was going to be okay.  

He said he had no one.

It was like a dam wall opened up and he started sobbing.  He held onto my daughter’s hand while I just spoke softly to him – not knowing if he understood or not.  After a few minutes I asked if I could call anyone and he said he had no one. My heart broke. I asked if there was anything I could do for him and he said in the most perfect English that he would talk to me later.  My sister-in-law gave him some Coke and tissues and shortly after he went outside, and then returned, a lot calmer.

When we left, he said he would speak to me the following day.  As my brother was being discharged, I was not sure if we were going back.  Leaving the hospital, Kayla said to me that that was my #ImStaying moment.  That night, sitting on my bed and talking to Kayla about what had happened, we were so sad to think about how many other people in this country don’t have anyone to call when they are in distress.  It was heartbreaking – that is when I posted my #ImStaying moment on the group.  We were so overwhelmed by the response and offers of help.  

We went back the following day, even though my brother was not there, and took everyone in the ward some Coke and chips – even some goodies for the nurses!  

He lay on the side of the road for about three hours, just praying for God to take him.

Talking to Anathi, we found out that he had been walking home after looking for work when two men approached him from behind and walked around him before they pulled out a gun and mugged him.  They took his phone and wallet – which he tried to grab as it contained his ID and driver’s license, and they shot him in the foot. He lay on the side of the road for about three hours, just praying for God to take him as he couldn’t go on like that anymore.  He eventually stood up and a gentleman stopped, saw him bleeding and took him to the hospital.

From all the responses received, he has said that it means so much to him that we took the time just to be there for him – all it took was a few minutes.  We helped him get back home when he was discharged, with some extra shoes, pants, and shirts, and waited to hear from him.

He said he never thought it could happen to him!

One lovely Stayer is sending him a cell phone with the prospect of helping him move forward, and another has sent him vouchers to get whatever he needs.  He was laughing so much at this but we need to understand that he has been feeling like this is a dream – he said he sees all these good things happening to people on social media and never thought it could happen to him!  We talk and message each other on a daily basis and he is recovering well.

You don’t need to be rich to help someone – all it takes is a few moments of your time to have an immediate impact on someone.  Treat each other with kindness, smile at everyone, hold the door open, treat each other with respect. We are all human and we all hurt sometimes.  We never know what someone is going through because we are scared to get involved, but from my beautiful experience – it changes people’s lives.

A simple Random Act of Kindness has changed his life and now it is up to him to make the most of it and be successful, honest, and to help uplift someone else who is in need.

Edited by: Alison Zimmermann 

For more positive and uplifting stories visit us at #ImStaying