TWO Wodonga neighbours want to publicly recognise and thank four Wagga teenagers who assisted them when one had her bag snatched in the town on Tuesday.
Susan Currie and Norm Hasson had stopped at a McDonald’s in Wagga on their way to Parkes for the annual Elvis Festival when the theft happened.
Mr Hasson, who suffers from a series of chronic back injuries, sprang from his seat to chase the thief, eventually recovering the bag and several hundred dollars worth of spending money his neighbour had saved for the festival, as well as her car keys.
The thief made off with Mrs Currie’s phone, but the pair had bigger problems.
Mr Hasson had chased the thief into a steep drainage ditch before his legs gave out, leaving him stranded as Tuesday afternoon’s storm began to swell.
It was then that the kids came to his aid – one had seen him chase the man through the McDonald’s carpark and briefly gave chase before returning to help Mr Hasson to his feet and back to his companion, leaving his bike unattended in the process.
Meanwhile, the rest of the group had remained in the restaurant with Mrs Currie, calling the police and later, an ambulance for Mr Hasson.
Though their trip to Parkes was up in smoke, the pair said the actions of the four teenagers had helped soothe their emotions in the wake of the ordeal.
“I physically couldn’t stand up as that storm broke, and this young guy came back and helped me up,” Mr Hasson said.
“He went and let Sue know I was all right, them came back and helped me all the way back to her.
“He had three friends with him who had gone to help her while I was gone, they’d clocked this bloke, what he was wearing, had the full description and waited with us for the police.
“It gives you a bit of hope for the future, you hear so much about bad kids these days, but this group had their heads screwed on.
Mrs Currie was equally effusive in her praise of the teenagers, with one of their families even offering her a place to stay for the night in the event Mr Hasson was admitted to hospital in Wagga.
“The young girls absolutely took control when Norm took off,” she said.
“It restores your faith in humanity really, and made me feel like the country is in safe hands with the youth of today.”
Despite their disappointment at missing the festival this year, the pair are undeterred, already making booking to tick the Elvis Festival off the bucket list in 2020.