Car keys rescued from street drain by superhero

By Mike Barrington


This is a story which has everything - tragic loss, drama, a superhero, a happy ending and loving thank-yous.

First, the loss. Ruakaka teacher Jenny Sergeant is passing goods to her daughter Laura's boyfriend, Charlie Konia, in Whangarei's Vine St last Friday when she drops her car keys through the grate of a drain.

Now the drama. Charlie, whom Jenny portrays as a loveable Steptoe-type character, finds a pair of nail scissors in the car and uses them to chip out the tar around the edge of the grate.

Jenny has a couple of dogs in the back of the car and Charlie hooks their leashes through the grate so he can lift it clear of the drain.

By this time the unleashed dogs are running on the road causing traffic ructions and a crowd has gathered to offer advice about the view down the drain, which Jenny described as "like a sewer" with dirty water at the bottom of a one-metre drop.

Who is going down?

Not Jenny. Her daughter Eloise was to marry on Saturday and there was no way the mother of the bride was getting into that drain.

Not Charlie. He was too heavy for Jenny to hold.

Enter the superhero. Teenager Ritchie Brown popped out out of the crowd, teeth and white T-shirt gleaming, and says: "I'll get those keys for you."

And before Jenny could say "You don't have to", he had wriggled head-first down the hole, Charlie was holding his feet and she was taking the remarkable photograph you see of the dynamic duo in action. The crowd watched entranced.

Charlie was bleating for Jenny to help him hold Ritchie. Jenny was telling Ritchie to give up his search. Ritchie was yelling for them not to let go of his legs.

Then - eureka! - Richie emerged with the keys and Jenny, Charlie, the dogs and the crowd went wild.

"I was so ecstatic I was all over him like a rash," Jenny said.

Anxious to convey her gratitude with more than just a kiss, she searched her car and came up with a half-bottle of rum and, before she could ask "Are you 18?", Ritchie had gratefully tucked it under his arm.

Then, like a true superhero, he vanished into thin air and everyone's still asking: "Who was that remarkable young man?"

- Northern Advocate

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