AYA: 13 September 18

What a day, what a day.  Tomorrow is the very first day of the very first Comic-Con in Africa, ever. I had made plans to stay over at a friend who lives closer to the con venue and I had also made plans to give an almost stranger a lift to the con and back.

This morning was training for one of the brands at work so my boss picked me up and we went through for the training which was actually pretty fun and informative. My boss then dropped me off at home and gave me the rest of the day off afterwards which was amazing because it meant I could get my last-minute printing done and be on the road to my friend’s house and still miss all of the traffic.

This day offered so much proof that I am truly blessed and lucky.  I stopped and topped up my petrol (R300) took me to a full tank from half a tank. I checked my water, tires and oil and off I went. I quickly realised the Google Maps on my phone is not doing quite what it should. It seems to keep losing signal which was really bad because well, I am directionally challenged and do not know Sandton (the area my friend lives) at all.

So there I am, completely lost, stuck in traffic which is notoriously bad in Sandton and all I see is smoke coming out of the left-hand side of my car bonnet. Instant dread but no panic. Thankfully I had a bus pick up section next to me, so I quickly pulled in. This was not my first time at the rodeo. I reached down, popped the bonnet and suspected that it might just be my water and that the cap might have not been put on correctly. The thread is slightly off on it and I know people do tend to fasten it incorrectly. Checking I can easily see that this is indeed the case.  I leave my bonnet open and climb back into my car. I send a quick voice note to my friend to let them know the GPS says I am 10 min away and what has happened. I warily eye out my battery life which is in the red. I plug in the car charger and hope my phone will stay alive.

Once again I climb out of my car, armed with nothing more than my water bottle. Thank heavens I had this! I burn my hand a little trying to open my car water bottle and a kind gentleman walking past helped me open her up.  To everyone who walked past me and helped or asked if I was okay, THANK YOU! You helped calm me with each question and pause.

I eventually poured my drinking water into the car water bottle and fastened the lid. I sat for another ten minutes and decided to brave the traffic once again. After wiggling my way back into the non-moving traffic and getting lost turning ten minutes into 15 excluding traffic for arrival time I started to get nervous again. I knew something was not right. At this point, I could see I was about 8 minutes away from my friend’s place and about to drive past a garage when my intuition told me to pull off immediately. I did an awkward turn into the petrol garage and stopped next to a petrol tank thing and turned my car off. As soon as the ignition was off there was a loud bang against my bonnet and an onslaught of steam ~or as le boyfriend will correct me, vapour. My stomach dropped but I figured maybe I had not put the radiator water bottle lid on properly and it had just popped off.

It was worse. So much worse. It is now ten to six and I had been on the road since about quarter past four. The attendant working at the petrol garage looked as I looked. I had once again popped the bonnet and hooked her up. I just stared at my fully fastened lid still in place with no steam coming from it. No, the seam was coming from the centre of my water bottle. A gaping hole where something had once plugged in. At that moment panic started to set in. The attendant looked at me and I at him. I managed to glance at the thing that was connected to wires that were meant to go into the hole. One look and I knew the seal had broken and the only way I could think to fix it was superglue or tape. I was thinking of things that could help me at a garage. I looked at the guy and asked if he thought they would work. He told me I could just buy the part at Goldwagen (a car spares place) up the road. I asked him if I could walk there and he asked me for the time and then proceed to tell me they would be closed already.

He must have sensed the panic or seen it clearly written on my face. He then went on to tell me I could get it easily in the morning. I then informed him I needed to be on the road by 7am on my way to Kyalami in the morning and that I was staying over at a friend. The attendant then asked me to wait and walked off. At this point, I am really thinking a million things and realise I gotta let my friend know what’s going on.

Then the attendant comes back with two guys in tow and they ask if they can have a look. By all means, why not? They had a quick look and the one guy disconnected the part and asked if I would be okay with him getting me a new part and waiting for 20 minutes. Well, it wasn’t like I was going anywhere and I seized the glimmer of hope. I watched him walk away with the random part and I got myself comfortable in my car and noticed a couple voice notes from my friend. He wanted to know where I was, what was happening and if he should come around. I sent him my location, accepted his offer of help and let him know what was happening. He then informed me he knows the area I am stuck in and it’s not the greatest area and he will be there as soon as possible as he does not trust the guys and the whole situation.

Great. There I was, stuck and sitting, in a not so great part of town in one of the higher risk high-jack cars, lost and alone. I got comfy, dug out my ‘Art of War’ from my overnight bag, turned on my music and not even five minutes later the two guys were back. I popped the car bonnet once again and they replaced the part and topped up my water and that was that.

The feeling of relief and appreciation, I cannot describe accurately. It left me giddy. I asked how much I owe them, gave it to them gratefully and got them a coke each to really say thank you. I could not say thank you enough. These guys had honestly rescued me and they had no obligation or need to. They simply helped me without expecting anything in return. It was only because I was nagging that they charged me. They really were my heroes and I can not sing their praises enough. They really restored quite a bit of my faith in my fellow humans.

My friend arrived soon after and I followed him to his place which really was so close to where I had been stuck. This entire adventure just fully proved that I am well looked after and truly blessed! Oh, and my speedometer has stopped making the noise! Let’s see how long the silence lasts this time around.

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