Self portrait with shaved head

Shaving heads is a funny phenomenon inSouth Africa. In some areas the chaps do it to show they’re tough; part of gangs. In others they do it in support of a friend who has cancer. I am not very tough, but I do have two friends who are going through the hell of chemotherapy at the moment. I shaved my hair off this morning. It was very traumatic and – as it was too early to have a glass of wine for the shock – I bought myself a hat.

These hats are imported fromAustralia, have a 50% ultraviolet protection factor, are washable & crushable and are endorsed by the Cancer Association of South Africa.

Wearing my new hat, I meandered around in trendy Parkhurst and had a cup of Earl Grey tea and a scone before heading back home. As I turned into the main road from my parking bay, a middle-aged woman stepped in front of my car and shouted “Can you give me a lift?” Before I could close my dropped jaw, she was in the passenger seat. In this affluent suburb? A hitchhiker? A Jewish woman? I was shocked to being speechless, but she more than made up for this.

As we drove she launched into an account of her situation: her car had broken down and she couldn’t pay for the repair, she needed to get to the state hospital, her bank account was empty and she had no money to pay for public transport or buy airtime for her phone so that she could phone someone for a lift. She loves the ballet but can’t afford to go anymore; she was once a ballet teacher. Could I help her with a R200 loan, she’d find me when she managed to get money and pay me back.

When I stopped at the hospital, I checked my purse and had only R180 and small change and gave it to her; she hugged me and smiled. I saw that most of her teeth were rotten and some were missing.

What could have possibly happened between teaching ballet and this?

I came home and spent the rest of the morning experimenting with an unconstructed crab lasagna recipe and Sauvignon Blanc. But I just can’t get that woman off my mind. She said her name is Jankie, I wish I’d asked if she needed a lift home.


86 Comments Add yours

  1. mairedubhtx says:

    What a good person you are, Cindy! Best of luck to your friends who are undergoing chemotherapy and to the woman to whom you gave a lift. May God reward you greatly.

    1. theonlycin says:

      Thanks Fatima, but I don’t know exactly what happened, something doesn’t fit right.

  2. Poor woman, glad you were able to help her.

    1. theonlycin says:

      It’s just been brought to my attention on Facebook that she may be a crack addict (the bad teeth), so I hope I didn’t just buy her next fix 😦

      1. nursemyra says:

        That was my first thought

  3. You are a saint twice over!
    I do love your self portrait.
    Have a happy afternoon.
    🙂 Mandy

    1. theonlycin says:

      I’m getting a bit of a fright everytime I pass a mirror :O

    1. theonlycin says:

      Maybe not, see my comment to Sue …

      1. leigh says:

        You did what you did out of kindness.

      2. theonlycin says:

        Kindness or dumbness 😉 What’s done is done …

  4. Leeswammes says:

    Wow, all bald! That’s pretty daring. Well done you for supporting your friends.

    As for the hitch hiker lady, I would have been highly suspicious but I’m so glad you helped her out. Sometimes I think, yes, it could happen to us too. You only need a few bad events and a fall out with your family, and that’s it!

    1. theonlycin says:

      One of our local charities (The Salvation Army, maybe it’s international?) have the motto “there but for the grace of God go I” …

  5. Sparkle says:

    I could have so scared by the description you gave and rather offered money and not transport her in my car! You are a brave woman in this day and/in age. Her description sounds like a cape flat junki, I hope it was the truth she told you and good thing you did not give her your home add to come repay you, you would have invited trouble. I’d rather be paranoid than be a volunteer victim.
    As for the cancer shaving, big ups to you, you are a good person and I know this for a fact. I wish your friends complete recovery, we know there are survivors out there.(Apologies for such a long comment)

    1. theonlycin says:

      They both have breast cancer and the prognosis for that is good!

  6. Sparkle says:

    And by the way, cellphones have free please call me service. Can she really say she has no friends or family that contacted between the breakdown and your lift? Couldn’t she ask to make a phone call from any shop nearby? She sounds to fishy. Sorry I’m that I’m getting worked up by her story.
    Enjoy your afternoon 🙂

    1. theonlycin says:

      Yes Sparky, as I mull it over I believe I was conned 😦

  7. Hats off Cin (or rather on in your case!)

    1. theonlycin says:

      Yes Leon, I’d better buy a few more hats; my daughter just got home and said I look very ugly 😦

  8. SuziCate says:

    You’re such a good friend to support your friends. My brother’s step daughter shaved her head while he was going through chemo. How kind of you to help out this hitchhiker as well.

    1. theonlycin says:

      Thanks SuziCate 🙂

  9. MissChris says:

    You did what you did out of kindness and compassion in both instances so even if you were conned – the person that conned you will have the bad karma – you on the other hand will be blessed for your kindness! En in elk geval – dis hoe ek jou ken!!

    1. theonlycin says:

      Anyway, it was a strange day and I’m going to give myself a glass of wine now 🙂 xxx

  10. Who cares whether she conned you or not!
    I have heard so many people worry about “what happens to the money you give the beggar on the street, after you have given it?” Who cares! YOU did your good deed. It is no longer your concern. God sees that you have given with an open heart, and he will keep you in his space for that. He will continue to bless you. When God gives to us, do you think he sits and worries whether we will do the right thing with it. Whether we have lied to get it? Whether we actually do need it! He leaves it up to us. We need to do that.
    I would much rather go to bed knowing that I have done my bit to help, than be plagued by the feeling that I could have helped- but I didnt!
    On a different note- well doen for shaving your head! I cant wait to see a pic. Both my grandparents have died in the last decade from Cancer! I found myself actually talking away to my gran this morning, I miss her. It is a disease that has hit every single one of us. I take my hat off to you.

    1. theonlycin says:

      Now that you’ve taken it off, please give it to me, my head is cold … 😉

  11. SidevieW says:

    Well done, they are not alone

    1. theonlycin says:

      When my husband sees me I may be alone 😉

  12. Cin

    I think both things you’ve done are very worthy of you. The head shaving and the money lending, while important gestures, will pass, but the ripples of your actions will continue.

    On one hand you’ve shown solidarity with afflicted friends.

    On the other, you’ve shown your true self. Giving the money was charitable. If it turns out that this person lied to you, it in no way lessens your action. You gave from the heart.

    I know so many people who will not go the extra mile for their fellow man for fear of being shown to be foolish or gullable. I think the people who act without that thought, are the truly charitable.

    1. theonlycin says:

      Thanks Rik, you make me feel a bit less foolish 🙂

  13. diadembooks says:

    Looks like you were selected for a blessing, Cin.

    1. theonlycin says:

      I am a lucky girl and I count my blessings every day 🙂

  14. Brave, brave woman you are Cin. Respect

    1. theonlycin says:

      Dankie Skattebol 🙂

  15. deepercolors says:

    I don’t think I could do that. Not as brave as you are. I have a friend who shaved hers for her Buddhist beliefs. She wondered what she had done, but then got some large exquisite silver earrings and looked stunning. You will be stunning for more that one reason because of who you are.
    You had short hair before – it won’t take long to grow out back to that length at least. I do like the hat. Material with sunscreen, to protect the head. What a good idea.

    1. theonlycin says:

      It’s a brilliant idea and I think I’ll get a few more in different colours 🙂

  16. slpmartin says:

    I have said this before but it is worth repeating….you my friend are one amazing woman!

    1. theonlycin says:

      Thank you Charlie *heart*

  17. Sometimes fate brings us together for a few minutes. We will never know what problems we solved, or whether fate will let us meet again, or even whether it’s a good idea. It’s baffling.

    I love the fact you shaved your head. Solidarity, sisters. We can’t cure cancer yet but we can still give it a defiant gesture or two.

    1. theonlycin says:

      I’m flipping the bird at cancer, hope they find a cure soon 🙂

  18. Oh, you’re a kind soul, Cindy. Don’t worry about what she spent the money on. You can only respond with your heart to the situation as it presents itself…

    1. theonlycin says:

      I can’t stop thinking about her Celia!

  19. Pseu says:

    I envy you your disinhibited generosity. Whether she was exaggerating or not, she needed you at that moment and you were there for her, driver, listener and donator. And I suspect it was the fat you listened that was the most important to her.

    1. Pseu says:

      fat = fact!

      1. theonlycin says:

        I guess you’re right, thanks Pseu 🙂

  20. Jamie Dedes says:

    Bless you, Cindy, for your kind solidarity with your friends and your lift and gift to this lost woman. So much of this happening all over. We saw an elderly lady limping along the other day and stopped to ask if we could give her a lift. We piled her and walker into the car. I figured she was headed for the senior center where they provide lunch for these dear folk. Indeed she was. She had worked all her life caring for our young as an elementary school teacher and now this. She talked away too … got the feeling she doesn’t have anyone to talk to. Sad thing …

    Thank goodness for people like you, Cin, dear and generous … You keep us from sinking into depression. Virtual hugs!

    1. theonlycin says:

      So nice of you to have helped that old gal, Jamie 🙂

  21. souldipper says:

    Look at all this fabulous intent – all this loving kindness. For friends and a stranger. No need to judge, Cin, it gave your heart what hearts need – fulfillment! Feel it and don’t worry about. Just makes me love you more, dear Lady of Hairless Solidarity.

  22. bluebee says:

    What a surreal day, Cin – good on you for thinking with your heart – sometimes the head doesn’t cut it and isn’t right for the situation. Your hair will grow back, your purse will be replenished and, one day, your daughter will realise just how cool and awesome you really are. Cheers to you, gal!

    1. theonlycin says:

      Surreal doesn’t begin to explain it, bluebee. Cheers to you too 🙂

  23. gospelwriter says:

    You are a lovely, lovely lady, Cin, with a heart to match, How you rock!

    1. theonlycin says:

      Thanks Ruth, you rock too 🙂

  24. Why were your doors not locked?!!!! Oh that is so scary! Although I know some doors lock a little slowly. You must surely be the most wonderful friend ever. Your heart is as big as the ocean.

    1. theonlycin says:

      I never lock my doors, Linda, maybe I should from now on 🙂

  25. dearrosie says:

    My word that takes a lot of gall to hitch hike a ride and then conn you out of your money. I wonder whether anything in her story is true.

    1. theonlycin says:

      I doubt it, Rosie, but what is done is done.

  26. Janine says:

    Oh, Cin! You’re a gem and cannot be faulted for showing the warmth and generosity and love in your heart to a complete stranger. Kindness is a rare thing these days and I salute you. I suppose it’s entirely possible that you’ve been conned, but you showed your true colours and I’m a firm believer in karma. If the woman was lying about her situation, rest assured it will come back to bite her in the ass. You, on the other hand, can sleep easy knowing that you did what you could – from one human being to another. I can only think of a few friends who would have done the same in this paranoid and selfish world. I admire you for this.

    As far as the bald head… What a brave woman you are! I’m sure your friends appreciate your visible show of support for them. You talk the talk and walk the walk, skattie, and that means you have character. And honour. And loyalty. And that makes you a star in my book! Have a lovely weekend and stay warm *hugs*

    1. theonlycin says:

      You enjoy your coffeless weekend too, Skattie 🙂

  27. sonsothunder says:

    Did you really?
    Wow, I know you are still as beautiful on the outside as you are on the inside…even without the hat…
    I tell ya what… I think I should be seeing you as the next FoodNetwork FoodStar Any Week now..with those gorgeous, and delicious looking eyes.. .NO!!! ,. I meant… Dishes… yes Entres.. lol Well, the eyes too…
    I promise not to let Gordon Ramsay ever come close to you ( Or Sigmund Freud for that matter) .. in fact, I think it is almost a unanimous vote here in America …that we send Ramsay Back to England, or Scotland, (which ever will have him) …umm..except for one vote.. Yeah…sadly..that is mine…but, I can’t help it.. I just like him for some reason…But not Nearly as much as I like you…
    God Bless you

    1. theonlycin says:

      Love you too, Paul. And I am meeting the dreaded Gordy face to face soon. Watch this space … 🙂

      1. sonsothunder says:

        He’s a Wuss…uppps, I meant teddy bear

      2. theonlycin says:

        He’s a potty-mouthed philanderer 😦

    1. theonlycin says:

      Thank You Paul 🙂

  28. Tandy says:

    may what you give out be returned to you ten fold xxx

    1. theonlycin says:

      It does, continuously by kind friends xxx

  29. Naomi says:

    Wow, Cin, you have given me goose-bumps. Your compassion and consideration sets a phenomenal example, not to mention the courage to shave your head! Blessings to you and your precious friends. Co-incidentally, we’ve just done a shoot of sports celeb memorabilia for Faces of Hope Foundation (which assists people with cancer). It’s so special to see people helping people.

    1. theonlycin says:

      LOL, our comments were made at exactly the same time!

  30. Tilly Bud says:

    What an amazing thing to do for your friends. I hope they get well.

    1. theonlycin says:

      I’m believing they will, Tilly!

  31. earlybird says:

    Wow! You are amazing. Solidarity and generosity with/to those in need. Great post.

    1. theonlycin says:

      Thanks earlybird, have a super weekend 🙂

  32. Steffi says:

    Great post,Cin!You are so good for your friends and I hope they get well.

    1. theonlycin says:

      They are going to, I just know it!!!

  33. PinkPolkaDot says:

    Wow Cindy!! You never stop to amaze me?!! I will ever ever have the courage to shave my head and I don’t know many other peoplewho will!! Excellent!! With regards to the hitch-hiker – life can change suddenly!! Enjoy the weekend!

    1. theonlycin says:

      You too Pinky 🙂

  34. klrs09 says:

    Cindy, what an amazing story! Thank God she wasn’t a lunatic and that you weren’t hurt (sorry, that’s my knee-jerk reaction, I DO admire you for your genuine act of kindness towards this woman). Talk about brazen, though! Obviously, she knew a kind soul when she saw one.

    We do the head-shaving in support of cancer here, too, Though I have to admit that I have never had the courage to do it. I give donations, but I can’t give my hair. Terrified of how goofy I’ll look. Some, and you’re probably one of them, look terrific with a shaved head. Kudos to you.

    1. theonlycin says:

      I have decided to keep my head like this, at least for the summer 🙂

  35. Tokeloshe says:

    You are very brave, what a wonderful way to show your support for your friends.

    1. theonlycin says:

      I’m not really a brave person, Tok, in fact I am a bit of a wuss 😉

  36. Bald! That’s brave, I bet getting ready in the mornings is speedy now 🙂 You’re a good friend.

    I like your self-portrait – you have neat ears. I like the huge ear-rings idea – get some and work the look!

    As for the crazy lady – glad you’re safe, and were able to do a good deed! No harm done in the end.

    1. theonlycin says:

      I do keep my eyes peeled and my doors locked now 😉

  37. Yes, what happened between then and now… Things like that happen, doesn’t it? What if one collected the stories of these people and wrote a book? I bet some of the stories we’d never have guessed!

    1. theonlycin says:

      Yes, it would make a great book 🙂

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