Face of the day


RELUCTANT HERO: Sam Christians-Cupido says what she did shouldn’t be seen as anything out of the ordinary.\ Photo -Anna Loren

We need more people in the world like Sam who walk the walk. How often do we say the right things, but when it comes time to take action we find something else more important to focus on? Christmas is a time of great stress for many many people. I hope her story motivates us all to play it forward for someone who needs our help this Christmas. It may be only a small gesture but it could mean so much to someone feeling alone this Christmas. I remember once, complementing a lady on a necklace she was wearing when I was shopping in the supermarket. It turned out that it had a very special meaning for her and she told me about the death of a loved one. She told me I had made her day and I realised how powerful just a small gesture can be. Of course what Sam did was not a small gesture, hers was a life changing one.

Sam Christians-Cupido doesn’t want to make a big deal out of saving a distressed young man’s life on Auckland’s southwestern motorway.

She was just treating him the way she would want others to treat a member of her family, she said.

The Papakura woman was driving south along the motorway near Mangere when she spotted the man walking on the northbound on-ramp at Massey Rd.

She realised he was blind and that cars were tooting and swerving to avoid him.

That’s when she switched on to auto-pilot, she said.

“It wasn’t something that I consciously thought about. I was just thinking, ‘how can no-one stop’?”

Christians-Cupido quickly pulled off the motorway, parked her car at Jean Batten School and ran on to the on-ramp to help the man.

He was agitated and “pretty determined to kill himself”, she said.

“He said people had been making fun of him and calling him names. I said to him, ‘We all have bad days. Why don’t we find somewhere to sit and talk because sometimes we just need to talk to someone to make us feel better’.”

The 29-year-old took the man back to her car, where they chatted for a while before she called the police.

He was only in his early 20s but felt like he had nothing to live for, she said.

“Bullies had broken his cane and he was walking around with a metal pole that didn’t even touch the ground. Life at that point was really hard for him.”

Christians-Cupido is a teacher with Footsteps, an early childhood education organisation.

A lot of the kids she works with come from disadvantaged communities so it was easy to empathise with the young man’s position, she said.

“I told him that everyone has good points about them and he said, ‘but I’m blind, what can I do?’

“I said, ‘there are lots of kids who are blind, you might be able to help them’.”

Jean Batten School deputy principal Fiona Watson said Christians-Cupido is a true hero who put her own life at risk to save the man.

“She’s just amazing – she basically talked him off the motorway. I think he was just completely at his wits’ end.”

The police arrived and detained the man under the Mental Health Act.

Before they took him for a mental health assessment he asked to give Christians-Cupido a hug, Watson said.

“She walked over to him and gave him the biggest hug and said ‘I’m so pleased you’re all right, take care of yourself’ . . . just like a mother. I was so touched.

“If the whole of the world was like that then nothing would ever go wrong.”

But Christians-Cupido said she was just acting how she hopes others would act.

“It’s something that shouldn’t be looked on as great because it should be looked on as normal.

“If that was someone in my family I would have wanted someone to stop.”



* Lifeline: 0800 543 354 – Provides 24 hour telephone counselling

* Youthline: 0800 376 633 or free text 234 – Provides 24 hour telephone and text counselling services for young people

* Samaritans: 0800 726 666 – Provides 24 hour telephone counselling.

* Tautoko: 0508 828 865 – provides support, information and resources to people at risk of suicide, and their family, whānau and friends.

* Whatsup: 0800 942 8787 (noon to midnight)

Kidsline: 0800 543 754 (4pm – 6pm weekdays)

Kidsline: 0800 543 754 (4pm – 6pm weekdays)

If it is an emergency or you feel you or someone you know is at risk, please call 111

For information about suicide prevention, see http://www.spinz.org.nz.

– Manukau Courier

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If you agree with me that’s nice, but what I really want to achieve is to make you question the status quo, look between the lines and do your own research. Do not be a passive observer in this game we call life.

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