Durban - The man who plucked a toddler still strapped in her car seat from the middle of the road and reunited her with her distraught mother, met the child’s parents for the first time on Thursday.
Erik Bredberg who runs a painting business in Durban, was dropping off his employees last week when he spotted the child in Charles Strachan Road.
He whisked seven-month-old Azaria away and took her to Mayville police station where she was reunited with her mother.
Later, he learnt that Azaria’s mother, Shriah Nair, had finished her shopping in Hunt Road, Glenwood and had placed the child in the back of the car when she was accosted by hijackers.
The thugs demanded her keys and sped off with the baby still in the car.
They drove more than a kilometre and dumped the toddler in the middle of the road.
Bredberg met Azaria’s parents Shriah and Jonathan for the first time since the incident yesterday.
The humble Bredberg did not consider himself a hero, but that’s exactly how the child’s parents describe him.
“If it wasn’t you who found her, it could have been someone else. Who knows what they would have done to the baby,” said the mother to Bredberg.
“I believe everything happens for a reason. I think God was in control and he came to you to save our baby,” she said.
The Nair family, who are devout Christians, said they had been trying for years to have a child and had been told by doctors that they would not be able to have any children.
When their daughter was born they decided to name her Azaria, which means “God is my help”, said Shriah.
Azaria shared in her family’s adulation, smiling at Bredberg as they all lined up for a photo.
The nightmare of the hijacking may be over, but Jonathan said his wife was still traumatised by the incident.
“She won’t go out alone anymore,” he said. “I’m definitely paranoid now. This is the second time this has happened to us,” she said.
“Shriah is okay when I’m home, but when I am away she phones to check where I am, she is still traumatised.”
Jonathan said Azaria was doing well although she was now more reluctant to go anywhere without her mother.
Bredberg said he was more than happy to help and he believed that any other person would have done the same thing.
“There’s nothing else I can say, I am more than happy to help anyone at any time.”