Eye opener: A beggar that made me feel proudly South African

Sometimes you are in the right place at the right time, to witness something seemingly small, a fleeting moment, but a moment that can be hugely impactful. That happened to me last night at the garage in Claremont.

I had just pulled up to the Quick shop to buy some electricity, I parked next to a big, black 4 X 4 with a posh looking, well dressed lady getting into it. She got into her car with her groceries, quite hastily, as to avoid the bergie (for those non-South Africans a bergie is a beggar) asking for money outside the shop door.

Turning a blind eye and avoiding them always seems to be the easiest, safest option, let’s be honest. As she closed her passenger door, little did she know, her wallet had fallen out of her car and onto the ground. I was about to get out of my car and pick it up, but the bergie beat me to it. The posh lady turned her head away from him as he approached the car window. He picked up the wallet next to the car and knocked on her window. She obviously thought he was going to ask for money so she ignored him. He knocked again. She still didn’t turn to look at him. The bergie took a step back, held the wallet up, and knocked on the window again. Still she avoided him. The bergie just stood there with his hands in the air, not knowing what to do. At that point the husband walked out of the Quick Shop and saw the bergie, standing next to his car, holding his wife’s wallet. He yelled at him as he ran up to him, and grabbed the wallet out of his hand, quite aggressively. He got back into his car and showed his wife the wallet and stared at the bergie shouting something inside the car. The wife turned her head and looked out her passenger window to see the bergie and realise what had happened. The bergie was walking back to his plastic bag of belongings next to the shop door, looking quite stunned at what had happened.

The story has a happy ending; the husband did get out of his car and rewarded the bergie for his kind doings.

Even in his desperate situation, he chose not to wait till the car had gone and steal the wallet, he had the common decency to be honest and do good.

4 responses

  1. Whenever are they going to get around to putting brakes on trolleys to stop them rolling into your car as you unpack them??

  2. christine Avatar

    What a story. This is typical of the “posh” in every country, I suppose for the same thing happens here ( in the US ) with disgusting regularity.

  3. On the flip side of hearing about such hostility, its awesome to hear about the contrasting goodness which still exists. It’s sad that we make assumptions based on appearances and can’t look past what we see. How we ignore the beggars on the street who have nothing, I mean we don’t have to give them money (if we don’t believe in that) but we definitely don’t have to be rude or ignore them. It absolutely breaks my heart when I see someone being treated as if they don’t even exist. So I challenge y’all out there… next time you see someone coming to ask for money don’t roll up your window, but rather say hi, ask them how they are or simply acknowledge that they exist. We really have so much to give to others, whatever that may be.

  4. This is a touching story, or is it? There is an alternative here. The bergie saw you, and knew that he couldnt take the wallet, and that you were going to give it to the lady, but instead he rushed up to get it in hope of a reward. The general mentality of bergies is that we owe them something because we have something that they don’t.

    I can’t sympathize with them. In the area where I live if you don’t give them something they swear at you and threaten you, and speak out curses.

    I do understand that people try to see the good in other people, but we must realise that there is an alternative, sinister motive behind even the noblest deeds.

    You should ask yourself whether he would have done it without realising that the person who he returned the wallet would feel morally obligated to give a reward, and not just any reward, a larger one than the standard change that he is used to.

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