A Port Elizabeth woman, Lindi-Mae Humphreys, has shared the harrowing details of her near abduction on Tuesday 27 August in the hope that her reaction will help prevent at least one abduction, one rape, one hijacking or one murder.
In a Facebook post on Thursday evening, Lindi-Mae (who owns a swim school in PE), revealed that at first she wasn’t going to say anything about the incident – she didn’t want her loved ones to live in “worse fear than we already do” and her story had a “happy ending” – but she changed her mind after spending time with two of the “most wonderful and amazing investigating officers handling this case, I am only now realising the severity of it all, and just how lucky I really am.”
On Tuesday Lindi-Mae had popped into William Moffatt retail park to get some things she needed for her sons third birthday party, and had then gone across to Pick ‘n Pay for some “odds and ends”.
She had parked just four cars away from the main entrance, in the centre aisle, and left Pick ‘n Pay at 16h20 to head home.
This is what happened next:
“I came out the shop and a very friendly trolly porter assisted and unpacked everything in my boot for me. I opened my driver’s door and grabbed some money out my ashtray which I gave him while he was walking away with my empty trolly.
“I jumped in my vehicle (Hyundai H1 bus) and started my car before taking my phone out my bag.
“Before i knew it, my front passenger door flew open and a guy jumped in the front passenger seat, with a 9mm gun to my ribs telling to me drive.
“The next few seconds and minutes were an absolute blur. All I knew was someone had to hear me, and I had to get out of my car.
“I flung my driver’s door open and started screaming from the top of my lungs. He lifted the gun to my head and told me twice to “shuddup“. I jumped out my car, engine still running, and ran into the middle of the parking lot, still screaming like a crazy person.
“Within a minute, there were security guards, shoppers, store managers, trolly porters all running to my aid. One of the security guards stood with his shoulder against my passenger door to keep the gunman inside my car until help arrived, but (the gunman) pointed the gun at the security guard’s face and the security guard ran.
“Many civilians gave chase without realising he was armed, until he held the firearm out again threatening to shoot anyone chasing him. He ran to a getaway/follow vehicle (Toyota Avanza) parked outside the Bed Center and they fled.
“This man never expected me to scream. He expected me to ‘stay calm’ and listen to him but that scream completely rattled him.
“Unbeknown to me, there was a second guy standing at my front left fender who was part of this syndicate. Fortunately the security guards and trolly porters had noticed these guys together earlier that afternoon. They apprehended him and he was found in possession of a balaclava. He is still being detained at the Walmer Police station and they’re hoping he will talk.
“Why am I sharing this…?
“Because with four armed guys and a vehicle to follow me/us, apparently if I hadn’t done what I did and got out of my vehicle, my fate would have taken a very different turn.
“Police reckon they would have received a missing person’s report (Wednesday) morning after me not returning home, and my body would have been found in a bush somewhere in 3-4 days time.
“I don’t think anyone has any idea how they are going to react in a situation like this. Until it happens. You just never know. Fight or flight. And as absolutely indescribably terrifying as those few moments were, I knew if he shot me while I was sitting or jumping out my vehicle, at least I would get help and medical assistance quickly and I knew I would stand a chance.
“The officers confirmed, that was my only hope and chance of survival.
“So should anyone reading this ever find themselves in a situation like this (which is sadly becoming a reality in this country of ours) I really hope you FIGHT.
“Get out as quickly as you can. Don’t let fear take over. Don’t freeze. And don’t ever underestimate the power of your voice when you’re in a state of terror filled with the worst form of adrenaline.
“Lock your doors immediately. Don’t allow yourself to feel “safe” anywhere, because you aren’t. Broad daylight, people around, you’re still possibly a target.”
Lindi-Mae not only shared her advice on how to survive a similar incident, but also – in her heartbreaking message – thanked all those who helped her.
“To the MANY people who offered assistance and ran to my aid, (I wish i could remember your names and thank each and every one of you personally) I thank you from the bottom of my heart.
“The gentleman that turned my vehicle off and brought me my key and stayed with me until a friend got to me.
“To Angie Carter, whose vehicle got damaged by my door slamming into hers while jumping out my car, for the beautiful message that night, and to the two other ladies whom I didn’t know that messaged me on whatsapp.
“To my friend Liese Meintjes and her hubby Clint for calling the police. For getting to me so quickly and not leaving my side until the police arrived and I was fine to drive to Walmer Police Station well over an hour later. Clint even helped apprehend the second suspect. You have no idea what calmness you brought to me in a state of absolute inner chaos… I am eternally grateful for you both ❤”
Lindi-Mae said she is only now realizing what an impact the hold-up has had on her, and will continue to have. She admitted she now feels jittery and jumpy and freaks out when she sees a face at her window, or anyone in her peripheral vision.
“I go ice cold at every robot I stop at or any person I see running towards me. I keep playing those moments over and over wondering what I would have done if my children were in the car and feeling sick to my stomach thinking my natural reaction would still have been to jump out, leaving my children with this monster.
“I lock my doors every minute I’m driving, even though I can see they’re already locked. I keep pushing that button anyway. I zone out while people are talking to me… I picture that guy’s face and the gun and before I know it, I’ve missed minutes of the conversation.
“I know I have a long road ahead of me, as I will also need to come face to face with these guys in court in time to come, but for now, if this story can prevent just one abduction, one rape, one hijacking or one murder, it was worth it. ❤”
UPDATE: For all those sending kind advice and messages, Lindi-Mae told SAPeople: “Thank you so much for sharing and please thank them for me ♥️ the love and support has really been overwhelming.”
To read all the messages of support for Lindi-Mae, please click here.