Durban - A Durban businessman who reunited a baby with her distraught parents after finding her asleep in the middle of a road soon after her mother was hijacked, does not consider himself a hero.
Ian Bredberg said yesterday he was merely doing what anyone else would have done and felt a little uneasy with all the attention he was getting
So much so that the father of three, who runs a painting business from Durban, turned down requests by the Daily News to photograph him yesterday.
On Tuesday, Bredberg, of Lions River near Howick, became an unwilling hero in a drama that began when the mother was hijacked just moments after parking her car in Hunt Road, Glenwood.
The woman had intended popping into the nearby shopping centre, but was accosted before she could get her baby daughter from the back seat of her car. The hijackers demanded her keys and sped off with her car – and baby.
They drove just over a kilometre to Charles Strachan Road and dumped the infant in the middle of the road.
Bredberg, doing a painting job at St Augustine’s Hospital, was dropping off his workers at about 4.30pm when he noticed a baby seat in the middle of the road in a nearby street.
“At first I thought somebody just threw away a baby seat, because you often come across rubbish lying in the street in that area,” he said.
“But what struck me about it was that it looked very new.”
He said that as he spoke to his workers something told him to turn his vehicle around and go and have a better look at the baby seat.
“When I got there, there was a baby in it and she was sleeping,” Bredberg said. “In my mind I was thinking, ‘Is this a trap?’ I thought if I picked the baby up, would somebody come and accuse me of stealing it?
“So I stood in the middle of the road for a while to see if there was anybody there, and I asked some people passing by if they had seen anything,” he said.
“Eventually, there was nothing else I could do so I took the baby to the police station. It was not the thing of being a hero, but what does one do? You can’t just leave the baby there.”
Bredberg said that the baby slept through the entire ordeal and only woke up when he got to the Mayville police station.
“When I got to the police station I put the baby on the charge office counter and said, ‘I found a baby’. The officers there knew immediately what I was talking about because they had heard on the radio that the mother was hijacked and the baby was still in the car. They immediately got on the phone and got in touch with the parents,” he said.
Bredberg said a buzz generated through the Mayville police station and that officers in the charge office swooned over the infant. “They took wonderful care of her. Everybody wanted to hold the baby,” he said.
Bredberg said that he was asked to wait for the parents.
“Eventually they came to the police station. The mother and father got out and you could see the excitement on both parents’ faces when they saw the policewoman holding the baby.
“They gave me a hug and gave every police officer there a hug,” he said. “It was such a happy moment.”
Police spokesman, Captain Thulani Zwane, said the car was found abandoned in Cato Manor.
No arrests have been made.