WATCH Cindy Poluta on Her First Drive to Work Without Alfred

Grab a tissue to watch EWN’s Cindy Poluta on her first emotional trip to work, without Alfred, the man she called a friend who she used to give a lift to each morning for the last three years… He was mugged and stabbed in Soweto earlier this month.

On Cindy’s first morning drive to work after hearing the news, she has shared memories of her friend Mmangaliseni ‘Alfred’ Goge, 58. She says: “Thank you everyone for all your support. I just can’t believe he’s not here #ripalfred” She also thanked EWN’s Christa Eybers for producing this incredibly moving video…

WATCH Driving to work without Alfred: How a 5 min drive sparked a friendship to remember for life

South Africa has fallen in love with the friendship that existed between the two strangers who travelled together to work each day, without exactly knowing where each other lived or what each other did. Just that they connected for five minutes early each morning. He called her Sandy and she never mentioned she was on the radio. She knew he lived nearby but not quite where.

It all started one winter’s morning, very early, on Cindy’s way to work. “I saw a guy walking up 7th Ave Parkhurst. It’s a steep hill, and it was freezing I felt sorry for him so I slowed down. He was wearing a red cap with Shell written on it. I assumed he worked at the garage,” she said on Twitter.

She rolled down her window, and offered him a lift. He accepted. When she dropped him off, it turned out he worked at Crowne Plaza, not Shell. The next day they exchanged first names and became friends. At Christmas and Easters they exchanged gifts – for her children and his daughter and grandson in Soweto, and wife Aggi who was a domestic worker in Linden. Cindy’s best were the letters of gratitude at Christmas that “touched my heart so so deeply”. She tweeted that Alfred “claimed had I not lifted him, the cold winters would have got him”.

Sadly it was criminals who got him in the end.

This month Cindy couldn’t find Alfred on her way to work for a couple of weeks. His phone was off. So last week, she went to his workplace to check… and discovered the devastating news that he had passed away at the start of the month.

When Cindy heard the news she collapsed, shattered and inconsolable.

She said: “The kindest person. My morning companion is no longer. I only saw him for 5 minutes a day. But he occupied a space in my heart…”

She also asked for help in finding his wife Aggi… “I just want to meet her. Tell her I’m so sorry. Tell her he mattered. His life mattered. My morning drive will never be the same. Ever. #RIPAlfred” Fortunately social media was able to unite her with Aggi. They both cried “long and hard”.

As Gauteng publicist Georg Knoke says: “Tears. Such a sad reality – beautifully told by #702 reporter Cindy Polluta! The strength of kindness – and then a terrible murder and loss! RIP Alfred! There are so many other Alfreds in this country that so sadly die senselessly each day! Cry thy beloved country!”

You can read more on Cindy’s Twitter feed here