Kindness of strangers makes car accident bearable

A car accident in the main street left Beverley Heslop distressed and in pain. AMI staff member Carol Smith came to her assistance, providing reassurance and support. For naturally caring Carol, it was all in a day’s work.

Retired disability support worker Beverley Heslop, 66, has been in three car accidents in her life, but it was on the third occasion that she experienced the incredible kindness of members of the public who came to her aid.

“I was driving down the main street in Whakatane,” says Beverley, a long time AMI customer, “when a car backed out of an angled parking spot very quickly and crashed into me, pushing mine onto the other side of the road.”

“The other driver seemed to have done a runner and I really wasn’t impressed,” she says. The accident left Beverley in pain, with bruising across the chest and hips from her seatbelt. “I went into the jewellery shop and asked the lady there to call the cops. After that I became a bit of the mess, so she made me a cup of tea.”

The incident occurred near the local AMI branch and, as it turns out, the other driver was also an AMI customer. Panicking in the heat of the moment, he went straight to the branch to admit fault and lodge his claim. “He came out to talk to me afterwards,” says Beverley. “He owned up to it and was very apologetic.”

Carol Smith, an AMI staff member who was visiting from Tauranga, went to check on Beverley at the jewellers. By this time, Beverley was quite upset and weepy – she couldn’t move her car as the front passenger side was damaged and she was still in a lot of pain.

Carol thought that Beverley should go to hospital but Beverley was becoming increasingly stressed and was reluctant to call her husband, who had recently had a hip operation, as she didn’t want him to worry. Instead she rung one of his workmates to see if they could pick her up, but the workmate didn’t answer the phone. Carol helped calm Beverley down and offered to drive her to the hospital or call an ambulance.

“In the end, I called my daughter and she came to get me,” says Beverley, “but Carol was more than prepared to help. The way she reassured me that everything was going to be alright was very kind, genuine and caring. It made the whole event a lot easier to handle.”

When Beverley reached the hospital, it was found she had broken her ribs. Carol gave Beverley a call later that afternoon to help her lodge her insurance claim. In Carol’s mind, she was just doing her job but, to Beverley, it was a tidy end to a dramatic day: “She was really helpful during this process. Very open and honest.”

To thank those who came to her aid, Beverley bought flowers for the jewellery shop salesperson and emailed AMI Insurance to make sure Carol got the recognition she deserved. “I’m all about respecting anyone that respects me,” says Beverley. “I’ll help anyone if I can and it’s nice to have that returned back to you.”