Jacobs honours hospital fire hero
As deadly taxi wars rage around South Africa and drivers are portrayed as gun-toting cowboys, along comes Oliver Easton to shatter all stereotypes.
Easton, 35, from Eldorado Park, Johannesburg, risked his life on Monday to save patients trapped by fire on the fourth floor of Coronation Hospital.
He had just parked his taxi outside the hospital after dropping off passengers when he saw thick clouds of black smoke billowing from the building.
Instinctively, Easton ran inside and saved four people.
Yesterday Gauteng transport MEC Ignatius Jacobs honoured him at a function at the Coronationville Recreation Centre.
Accompanied by his wife Josephine and three children, a humble Easton was moved by shaking hands with Jacobs.
"I did not expect this. I rushed in there to save people who were trapped by the fire. I never thought I would one day shake the MEC's hand. It is a day I will never forget. It will have a positive influence on my children as well," Easton said.
Josephine said she was "a very happy and proud wife".
Jacobs described Easton as a selfless man who put the lives of the patients before his own.
"You have made us proud. While the taxi industry is known for all the negative things that happen, there you came and showed us you can do something good.
"You saved people who were in danger. You could have died," Jacobs said.
Easton received two bicycles and other gifts. His colleagues from the Johannesburg Intertownship Taxi Association also attended the event.