Hawker makes a comeback after robbery

Michael Jones, left, has been given some money to start up his fruit and vegetable business again after he was robbed. Brigitte Lompa, right, one of Mr Joness customers helped him by telling his story on the radio

Customers of a well-known fruit-and-veg hawker have rallied to his aid after he was robbed a few weeks before Christmas.

Chances are if you’ve driven down Koeberg Road, you’ve seen the stall under the marquee tent on the corner of Koeberg and Sable roads. But for the past three weeks, the spot has been empty because the hawker, Michael Jones, was robbed on Sunday November 11.

Mr Jones, from Albow Gardens, was woken up in the middle of the night by people in the neighbourhood informing him that a grey bakkie had driven away with his trailer.

The trailer carried Mr Jones’s tent, poles, fruit and veg stock, as well as tables and chairs.

“My trailer is always chained to my bakkie. They cut through the lock and undid the ropes I tied around the trailer,” said Mr Jones.

How they managed to untie the ropes still baffles him as he always tied them in an intricate manner, he said.

Mr Jones said he had started off with “nothing”, and his family had given him some start-up cash to buy a few crates of fruit and veg in 2011.

He applied for a permit from the City, swapped his car for a bakkie and eventually bought a trailer to transport his goods.

In 2013 a company sponsored him the marquee tent.

“I can’t believe they stole it (trailer). The festive season is here and people are preparing their Christmas desserts. And I’m not there to supply them,” he said.

Mr Jones said he had been surviving off a little bit of money he had saved up but it was running out fast.

His wife, Michelle, works in the admin department at a school.

He has reported the theft to the Milnerton police but has little hope of being reunited with his trailer.

His sons, aged 15 and 20, had helped him at the stall, earning pocket money.

“I still have a bit of money left to buy stock again. I just need help with a trailer to get things going again,” he said.

After news of the theft spread quickly on Facebook, long-time customer Brigitte Lompa called a local radio station to ask for donations on Mr Jones’s behalf.

“My late father, Wolf, used to shop at Michael’s stall. He is so good with the seniors. He’s always helping them across the road,” said Ms Lompa.

Three people responded to her radio interview. One good Samaritan gave R2 000 and another R1 000 to help Mr Jones build up his business again.

“Another gentleman from a lock shop has promised to secure Mr Jones’s trailer with a ‘no chain lock’ once he gets a new trailer,” said Ms Lompa.

Mr Jones has used the money to buy a table, a roof rack, poles, and rope, among other things. Yesterday, Tuesday December 4, he went to the market to buy fresh stock and was back at his spot before midday.

“My clients say they’ve missed me. I am grateful for all the help I recieved. Thank you to Brigitte and the others who helped me,” he said.