At The Wheel
It is refreshing to hear good news as we kick-off another year. One of our readers, Zane Conroy, sent us a letter about an incredible act of kindness that has changed his life forever.
Zane lived in Sydney, Australia, from 2006 when an accident in January 2011 changed his life forever. He dived into shallow water and broke his neck and became a quadriplegic. He completed his hospital stay and rehabilitation over a six month period and left the hospital in August. He returned to work as a Financial Adviser in Sydney and did 95% of his work over the phone. "Although I enjoyed being back at work I realised my stay in Australia was limited as my visa was due to expire in 2013 and I was not eligible to apply for permanent residency due to my injury. I therefor decided to come back to Johannesburg "my home," says Zane.
Meanwhile, his mother, Berdene, was due to start a new job at Berco when she got the terrible news of her son's accident. It is any mother's worst nightmare to have her only son, badly injured, on the other side of the world and not being able to do a thing to help him. Berdene called Berco and respectfully declined the new position. The owner of the company at that time, Bernie Cox, said that she needn't worry at all and he paid for her return air fare to visit Zane in Australia!
It took a lot of time and effort to re-establish a new life in South Africa and transportation became a huge challenge. He was so used to the public transport in Australia as all usses, trains and taxi cabs were wheelchair accessible.
"Fortunately, we found an organisation Ry-Ma-In (who accommodate people in wheelchairs) that had a huge Peugot Boxer available for us to rent so that I and my heavy wheelchair) can be transported home. I arrived home on 5 September 2011," states Zane.
Although the Peugot was an absolute life saver, it wasn't the correct vehicle for permanent use as it was very awkward to park, often too high to get through height restricted areas and getting Zane in and out was cumbersome and tiring for the driver.
It was at this point that he approached Bernie from Berco. As it was a transportation company, Zane hoped that they had the correct spec vehicle at a reduced price due to the high mileage. However, on the exact day Zane contacted him to ask about the car Bernie had sold Berco Express and relinquished his involvement with the company! He therefor had no further affiliation with Berco that would allow him to source such a vehicle. Nonetheless, he still asked me what type of vehicle would be appropriate and that he would still keep an eye out in case something came up in the months to come. "I mentioned that I'd seen VW Caddy in Australia and that it was ideal as it accommodated a ramp conversion and is great vehicle for town driving as it fited into normal parking bays," he enthuses. Two weeks later, I received an e-mail from Bernie Cox saying the following:
I believe that you have had several discussions with Johann, Berco fleet manager, regarding a suitable VW Caddy.
He has informed me that he has located a vehicle through the agents, Barloworld. I have asked him to go ahead and place an order for it.
Johann has advised me that you are able to get the conversion done using part of the amount in your Australian fund. I shall pay for the vehicle and leave you to attend to the conversion.
Once the ramp conversion was done Barloworld arranged for a driver to drive through the night to surprise deliver the car to his home in Johannesburg.
It's just an absolutely ideal vehicle for someone with his injury. Zane has used the vehicle for a few months now and it has transformed his life.
"This incredible act of kindness has had a massive impact not only on my ability to travel around town, but also on my outlook on life, my increased positive mental attitude and a revitalised thankfulness to be alive," he concludes.