(Cape Town) – Left with a disability after trying to stop a train robbery, Darryn August, a man who never backs down from a challenge, now has his sights set on emerging victorious on a different platform – the Paralympic Games.
Following a bleak prognosis after being hit with a crowbar, stabbed in the head and breaking his spine, the 28-year-old’s determination to recover and walk again no longer seems futile as he now manages to get around on crutches for short periods.
August was one of five commuters in a carriage hit by a gang of robbers as the train made its way to Somerset West in April 2016.
He had attempted to talk the thieves out of their plan, specifically out of concern for the two female passengers.
“One of the women appeared to be about seven months pregnant,” August recalls.
“I am not inclined to stand by and let someone get hurt, especially if one of them is carrying a child. To allow something to have happened to her would have weighed on my conscience.”
August believes he was targeted because the robbers realised that he was going to stand in their way and not idly watch them pull off their heist.
“I made a promise to myself before that day that if I ever saw anyone in a dangerous situation I’d do whatever I can to help,” he says.
His efforts saw him severely beaten and tossed out of the train.
He hit a tree before he landed, breaking his spine.
The robbers made off with his iPad, ID and money, but hadn’t taken his cellphone which was in a side pocket of his backpack.
August, who worked as a workshop facilitator for vulnerable children and organisations, managed to phone emergency services before losing consciousness and was found three hours later by a maintenance worker who also called for help.
This man, he believes, saved his life.
“If it wasn’t for him, I would probably have died,” August says.
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