Morgan Tait is the NZ Herald's police reporter.

Mum's praise for Sikh hero

Boy's mother says prompt action with turban saved her son’s life

Harman Singh has been praised for helping Daejon Pahia, above, at the scene of the boy's accident.
Harman Singh has been praised for helping Daejon Pahia, above, at the scene of the boy's accident.

The mother of a 6-year-old boy hit by a car as he walked to school believes he owes his life to the actions of a Sikh man who removed his turban to stem the bleeding.

Daejon Pahia was struck by a four-wheel drive as he crossed Manuroa Rd just before 9am on Friday, suffering a serious head wound.

Nearby resident Harman Singh, 22, heard the crash and rushed to the scene where he found the boy bleeding extensively from his head and made the decision to break strict religious protocol and remove his turban to staunch the blood.

Passerby and fellow Sikh Gagan Dhillon was so moved by seeing Mr Singh's uncovered head and his orange turban being used as a bandage that he took a photo of the scene.

Mr Singh's actions have been praised around the world as an incredibly symbolic act of humanity, and Daejon's mother, Shiralee, has also contacted him to thank him.

Harman Singh had no hesitation breaking religious protocol to use his turban to tend a seriously injured child. Photo / Michael Craig
Harman Singh had no hesitation breaking religious protocol to use his turban to tend a seriously injured child. Photo / Michael Craig

"I just really want to thank him because I know it's against his religion to take that kind of stuff off so I just really want to thank him because if it wasn't for him my son wouldn't be here," she told the Herald.

Daejon was in a stable condition in Starship hospital last night after surgery for a fractured skull, 12 deep head wounds and a lacerated kidney.

Mrs Pahia said arriving at the scene of the accident "felt like a nightmare".

"I was just shocked, I just went into my own little world, I didn't say anything to anybody, I was just pulling my head together. It just felt like a nightmare."

She said her family were still in shock. "I'm just glad he is all right and I'm grateful for those people who helped him. Everyone is just glad he is still here."

Mrs Pahia said Daejon was the middle child of seven and although she and his father, Elijah, sometimes dropped him at Takanini School, he was used to walking with his older siblings.

One of his older sisters was with him when he was hit, and was still very upset by the ordeal.

Singh cushions the boy's head with his turban. Photo / Daljit Singh
Singh cushions the boy's head with his turban. Photo / Daljit Singh

Daejon was talking and regaining his appetite but Mrs Pahia said he was too upset to talk about the accident.

"He doesn't want anybody to talk about it. We tried to talk to him about it but he just turns away, he doesn't want to hear about it."

He was expected to be released from hospital by the end of the week, but a full recovery would still take time.

"It's going to be up to him and how [his condition] becomes every day; the doctors said it will be a slow recovery."

Meanwhile, Mr Singh said he had been inundated with messages of support from around the world.

"I have had a lot of calls, a lot of messages. People are saying, 'I'm proud of you, bro' and saluting me - I can't even reply to all of the messages but I want to say that I am not a hero, I just wanted to get there for him and help the little boy."

He said he did not think twice about removing his turban to cradle Daejon's bleeding head, and emphasised that other members of the public also helped until emergency services arrived.

"I wasn't thinking about the turban. I was thinking about the accident and I just thought, 'He needs something on his head because he's bleeding'. That's my job - to help. And I think anyone else would have done the same as me."

- Herald on Sunday

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