Cabby steps out to protect woman from bee swarm

Cabby steps out to protect woman from bee swarm
Story is about this hero cabby, Muhamad Haniff, who stopped his cab by the side of the road at Bedok to help a jogger being attacked by bees.

Miss Terrina Kaur Sandhu was midway through her weekly run around the neighbourhood when she felt a stinging pain on her back.

She then heard a discordant buzz behind her as she made her way along Bedok South Avenue 1 on New Year's Day, and realised she was being attacked by a swarm of bees.

The Nanyang Technological University undergraduate ran as fast as she could, and tried to flag down some passing cars, but only one driver stopped, passing her two bottles of water and a jacket.

"I poured the water on my back and put on the jacket, but the bees were still all over my back," said Miss Terrina, 22.

In her panic, she tripped and fell.

As she was writhing on the ground, with the bees continuing to attack her, she heard a voice yell at her to get up and run.

The voice belonged to Comfort cabby Muhammad Haniff, 52, who had stopped to help, even though he had passengers in the taxi.

"I told my passengers that she needed help," he said.

As he dashed over, he took off his shirt to swat away the insects and cover the terrified young woman.

The duo ran hard and eventually got far enough to leave most of the swarm behind.

But by this time, Miss Terrina had been stung so many times that she had trouble breathing, said Mr Haniff, a married father of three.

He flagged down another taxi and paid the driver $10 to take her to Changi General Hospital.

"I didn't have money or a phone with me," said Miss Terrina. "Mr Haniff called my family and after he dropped off his passengers, he came to the hospital to look for me." He visited her again that night.

Miss Terrina was stung more than 20 times and was hospitalised overnight.

Mr Haniff himself was stung once during the attack.

Miss Terrina wrote to The Straits Times Forum page to thank Mr Haniff for his "compassion and bravery".

Her family sent him a hamper, after he refused a monetary reward.

"I didn't want any reward - all I could think of as I stopped was that, if I didn't help her, she could die," said Mr Haniff, who has been a taxi driver for 18 years. Cab operator ComfortDelGro has commended him for his "truly selfless act".

dansonc@sph.com.sg


This article was first published on Jan 25, 2015.
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