Good samaritan shares heroic deed

By Abigail Hartevelt

Every few days Rotorua's Selena Mahe visits 82-year-old Gavin Hayes to check up on him.

She felt sorry for Mr Hayes after his ordeal last month when a teenage girl stole and wrote off his car. He said he lost the will to live when it happened.

"I just feel very sorry for him. The extremes these kids went to stealing his stuff just wasn't right," says Miss Mahe, who is today named The Daily Post Person of the Month for October for the huge efforts she went to behind the scenes to help Mr Hayes.

Early last month a teenage girl stole and wrote off Mr Hayes' car. It was the second car he'd had stolen in recent months, during which young people had allegedly been coming into his flat and stealing from him.

After reading the story about Mr Hayes' ordeal in The Daily Post, Miss Mahe knew she had to act. She contacted car rental firm Rent-a-Dent to organise for the loan of a car for Mr Hayes. She was on her way to deliver the loan car when the firm's head office contacted her and said they would give Mr Hayes a new car.

Miss Mahe also contacted Arawa Auto Electrical who installed a car alarm donated by Dynatron. Two women, Michelle Hope and Rach Bennett, set up the Facebook page Gift for Gav to initially raise money to buy Mr Hayes a new car. Miss Mahe became part of that fundraiser and the more than $4000 raised was used to buy Mr Hayes household items.

"Since we had a car we went about and did things to improve his life."

She organised a new bed, fridge/freezer and washing machine for Mr Hayes. She also organised for a screen door to be put up and alterations were made to his shower.

They also used some of the money to put together gift baskets to give to other residents of the Rawhiti flats, where Mr Hayes lived.

Now Miss Mahe visits Mr Hayes every three or four days.

"He is a nice old dude ... It's nothing out of my day to have a chat and coffee ... We make sure he's okay."

Miss Mahe wanted to share the recognition with all those who gave in some way to Mr Hayes.

"A lot of people came to the party to help him and I think everybody deserves their little bit of recognition for it ... What we started as something we thought would be small turned into something large."

Mr Hayes told The Daily Post Miss Mahe was deserving of the recognition.

"Selena has been absolutely marvellous. So has Rent-a-Dent and the whole of Rotorua has come to the party."

- Rotorua Daily Post

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