He was waiting at a busy traffic junction when he noticed the elderly woman trying to cross the road.
Most motorists would not have batted an eyelid, except that the junction did not have a pedestrian crossing. And the woman was stuck on the central divider.
“The road was still wet from the rain,” the driver, Heah Huixiang, told The Pride, “the auntie looked like she had difficulty crossing.”
It was about 2pm on Monday and Huixiang was in his car with his girlfriend Sher on Jalan Bukit Merah near the CTE exit heading towards Singapore General Hospital.
“My girlfriend commented that it was very dangerous for the auntie to be there, and so I decided to do something about it.”
As the traffic lights turned green, Huixiang hopped out of his car and ran to the elderly woman’s side and during a brief break in the traffic, helped her to cross the road.
Another motorist saw his kind act and tipped off The Pride.
When we managed to contact Huixiang, the 34-year-old who works in finance was modest about the entire incident. It’s really nothing, he said.
It might have been a small gesture to him, but his instinctive act of selflessness prevented a potential deadly accident.
Captured on camera
All this was captured on his in-car camera.
In the video clips that he sent The Pride, Huixiang can be seen dashing to the auntie’s side, but not without first doubling back to grab his mask.
He laughed: “I was so worried (about her) that I forgot to put on my mask when I got out of my car and had to run back to get it!”
The clips show just how busy the intersection is, just off the CTE exit to Jalan Bukit Merah.
There were few breaks in the traffic, as oncoming vehicles would stream in either from the CTE or from Kampong Bahru Road.
Huixiang said that when he got to the elderly woman, he quickly explained that it’s not safe for her to cross by herself. He told her in Mandarin: “Auntie, I help you cross the road.”
“She told me in Hokkien ‘lao lang liao’ (I’m old already’) and didn’t seem to be aware that she wasn’t on a pedestrian crossing.”
So he quickly helped her across to the other side and ran back to his car, which had been sitting in traffic with the hazard lights on during the entire time.
“My car was blocking traffic so I had to run back fast!”
He says he didn’t think of his own safety because he just wanted the auntie to be safe.
The whole incident happened in a flash, said Huixiang.
“It was just a couple of minutes. Cars were coming from all directions. Some even had to slow down for us.”
One thing that struck him, however, was that even though the lights had turned green and vehicles were backed up behind his car, no one was honking.
He said: “The drivers behind me were all very kind. I was quite surprised! The cars all turned on their hazard lights. I think they saw what was happening.
“I expected them to be honking at me. I even told my girlfriend ‘Wah! No one honked at me?’”
Instinctive act of kindness
But why would he stop his car to help the woman?
Said Huixiang: “I don’t know whether she could cross without someone helping her. I didn’t know what other cars would do. There was no space for her to cross. There was no timing for her to be able to do it safely and she was quite slow as she was using a walking stick.”
When she was safely across, the elderly woman was very happy, said Huixiang.
“She told me ‘gam sia’ (Hokkien for thank you), and smiled at me. I smiled too but I had to rush back to the car.”
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The driver who contacted The Pride said: “The whole incident shows that Singaporeans are not that bad after all. We aren’t as impatient as we often say we are. It really reflects our kampung spirit.”
“Usually we just complain and report people who do the wrong things or break the law. We should also remember to appreciate those Singaporeans who go out of their way to do a kind deed, especially for someone that they don’t know.”