Girl's slip prompts a kind trip

As her mother shopped for groceries in a supermarket, little Jayna Tan tried to emulate her. So when mummy picked up a glass jar, so did she.

To her mum's horror, the bottle of mayonnaise slipped from her tiny fingers and shattered on the floor. Before she could react, the three-year-old had stooped down to pick up the pieces and cut her hands.

Fortunately, the employees at FairPrice Xtra in Kallang Wave Mall rushed to help the toddler.

One of them, Miss Joanne Phua, 38, even carried Jayna to the nearest clinic on the second storey of Leisure Park Kallang, about a 10-minute walk away.

The accident happened shortly before 5pm on Wednesday and they had to hurry to the clinic as it was closing.

Jayna's mother, who wanted to be known only as Mrs Tan, 35, said the girl had cuts on the fingers on both hands as well as on her right palm.

"Her right hand was full of blood. I was very worried, she said.

"There were glass shards in her hands, and I took out all the ones I could see. Jayna cried when she saw the blood on her hands."

The housewife, who was with her domestic helper, told The New Paper yesterday that Jayna could have tried to pick the broken pieces of glass because "she had been taught to always pick up what she had dropped".

She said a male employee helped them and took them to the office, where he and other workers cleaned the blood from Jayna's hands.

"They were worried that there were still glass shards in her hands and suggested we take her to the nearest clinic for a check-up. But I didn't know where it was," said Madam Tan.

Miss Phua, who is the team leader of the grocery department, volunteered to take them to the clinic.

She told TNP yesterday that her first thought was to ensure the little girl was all right.

"I was just doing my job. It was a natural thing to do," she said.

She went out of her way to make sure that Jayna got to the clinic on time.

"On the way, I noticed that the mum was carrying her with difficulty. I asked the girl if I could carry her as her mum looked tired.

"She was reluctant at first. I asked twice before the girl allowed me to carry her."

At the clinic, a doctor cleaned Jayna's wounds and bandaged both her hands.

The doctor asked them to go to a hospital for a more thorough check.

Miss Phua, who was with them in the doctor's consultation room, then carried Jayna to a nearby taxi stand.

She went back to work after Mrs Tan and Jayna boarded a cab to go to a nearby hospital.

At the hospital, a doctor told Mrs Tan the good news: Jayna's nerves were not affected as the cuts were not deep.

Mrs Tan later posted about the incident on NTUC FairPrice's Facebook page and thanked Miss Phua for helping her daughter "without hoping for anything in return".

She said in the post, which has since garnered about 3,500 likes, that Miss Phua did not know that she is pregnant.

"My daughter is heavy, she weighs about 14kg.

"The thought of having a miscarriage didn't cross my mind when I was carrying Jayna to the clinic," said Mrs Tan, who is three months into her pregnancy.


Mrs Tan and her family went back to the store that evening to thank Miss Phua, but she was out on a meal break.

Mr Jonas Kor, NTUC FairPrice's director of corporate communications, said that Miss Phua is a stellar example in providing proactive service.

"We are very proud of her for going the extra mile in helping customers. She remained calm and collected throughout the episode to provide assistance to a customer in distress.

"Her actions were motivated by concern for the safety of an injured child who was frightened and crying.

Singapore Kindness Movement general secretary Dr William Wan, 68, said: "We are moving in a more caring and compassionate direction, though we still have elements of 'kiasu-ness' and competitiveness in us."

Mrs Tan said: "When Joanne was carrying Jayna to the taxi stand, I noticed that she was leaning on Joanne's shoulder.

"Jayna won't lean on anyone's shoulder except mine when she is carried, so I knew she felt that this jiejie (big sister) genuinely cares for her."

This article was first published on July 25, 2015.
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