kindnessofstrangers

A random act of kindness - Mandi's Story

steeringwheel

In the mid-80s I lived in Clifton Hill while my siblings were St Kilda dwellers. I got to be very familiar with the Punt/Hoddle trek. One blistering summer's day I was driving my newly acquired ($300) HD Holden on the return leg to Clifton Hill when I became stuck on the Bridge Rd hill in thick traffic. Despite my best efforts I could not manage a hand-break start, the car being an old manual “three on the tree” and me a new driver. I kept stalling the car, much to the aggravation of the traffic stuck behind me. 

And then there appeared at the window a man – he said, Move over (bench seat) and I’ll drive you through the intersection. Too flustered to care this might be a car jacking, I did as suggested. I looked around to see a young man taking over the wheel of his car and off we went through the intersection parking out of the traffic on the other side of the hill. He suggested I sit quietly for a few minutes and I would be fine. I was and never forgot the random act of kindness.

My other Hoddle Street moment was after my father had repeatedly warned me “when it rains the roads will be slippery” – I had learnt to drive during a drought. Early on Sunday morning we loaded the HD with a surf paddle to head down to St Kilda beach. It had bean raining overnight. Braking heavily at Johnson Street I managed to spin the car 360 but, still being early  (and the 80s), there was little traffic on the road so both I and the car lived to drive another day.

Dial 000 for emergency - Amanda's Story

My Punt Rd anecdote was calling 000 for a lady who had keeled over on the side of the road. I was in my car and everyone else kept driving past, presumably expecting someone else to help her.

Weirdly, for years before this event I'd had repetitive dreams about trying to call 000 but missing the right number buttons on the phone (before that it was missing getting my finger in the right number of the dial). Haven't had that dream since.

emergency

A lesson to remember - Jo's Story

petrol

I delivered premature twins on 21 March 1987. When it was finally time to take the girls home, Dad, who had been flat chat rehearsing a play at the time, came to pick us up. On our return to St Kilda along Punt Road in peak hour traffic we ran out of petrol. We were able to turn off onto a side street where we parked outside the house of a very generous Greek family who invited us in and cared for us until petrol was bought for the car. Needless to say, as time was moving on, and as the girls were to be fed by a bottle which was waiting for them at home with my mum, I began  to panic. But we did finally make it home to St Kilda, from East Melbourne, where Mum was waiting with bottles in hand. For a first time mum it was a bit stressful but thank god we both have a sense of humor which got us through on the day!

Lesson to remember: never ever drive without checking petrol levels! Has never happened again in our life!

John's Story

Image from www.oldclassiccar.co.uk

Image from www.oldclassiccar.co.uk

I was about 7-years-old and my younger brother was 5. We rode with our father in his 1930s model Morris – a very small car with a very small engine – south down Hoddle Street. It was a bright Sunday morning in the late 1940s.

We crossed Punt Road bridge and Alexandra Avenue and proceeded to climb Punt Hill. The car ascended about halfway then stalled. We had to back down a little to the gutter, then push the car out to do a U-turn to drive back down the hill. (The little car had a crank handle to start the engine, but in this case the engine would restart as the clutch was let out when the car gathered speed.) My father thought that, with a bigger run at the hill, we could make it. 

But alas, on the second attempt the car reached only three-quarters of the way to the top before we had to stop. This time, however, my father was prepared and he stopped the car before it stalled. We could then safely back down and turn around under engine power.

My father still thought we could make it, but was concerned that if he took too big a run at the hill we would pass through the intersection so fast that we may not be able to avoid a collision if another car happened to be crossing Alexandra Ave. (At that time there were no traffic lights at the intersection so, although there was not much traffic, it was too dangerous to speed through.)

Fortunately a pedestrian saw our predicament and indicated that he would wait at the intersection and attempt to hold up any cars travelling east or west along Alexandra Avenue while we sped past! 

With the way supposedly clear, we travelled back up Hoddle Street some 200 metres past the end of the bridge, then gunned the little engine and flew through the intersection. The car proceeded beautifully up the hill, slowing considerably for the last 100 metres, then finally crested. Great rejoicing!