Dawn Perryman talks about her trip to visit friends and family in Picton, NSW, when things went horribly wrong and she was mugged.
Dawn Perryman talks about her trip to visit friends and family in Picton, NSW, when things went horribly wrong and she was mugged. Renee Pilcher

Strangers restore faith for Dawn

A SERIES of unfortunate events, which included getting mugged, has actually strengthened Dawn Perryman's faith in human kind.

Ms Perryman left Gympie on a Thursday in February and was driving to Picton in New South Wales when the engine light came on at Broadwater and a mechanic told her she had blown a head gasket.

She had been towing a trailer with two alpacas onboard (to get them mated down in NSWs southern highlands) and luckily, owners of a nearby motel let them stay overnight.

The next morning the motel operators were kind enough to allow Ms Perryman to leave her alpacas behind while she had her vehicle towed to Lismore. She returned later in the day with a hire car to collect her animals and get back on the road – but it wasn't long until she ran into her next obstacle.

“I was passing through Kempsey and stopped at a park to use the public toilets. A sign said I was in a high-risk crime area but I had to go, so I locked the car up and went. When I came out there were two boys smiling at me. They grabbed my bag and took off with it,” she said.

“They didn't hurt me but I tell you what, my blood pressure would have gone through the roof because of the stress of it.”

Ms Perryman was stranded. Everything she needed was in that bag – car keys, mobile phone, wallet, licence and address book. She had no cash, no credit, or any identification and she certainly couldn't remember anyone's phone numbers to call them for help. She ran across the road to a service station and found a Good Samaritan who rang the police and the RACQ, loaned her some money and put her alpacas up for the night on his farm. He took her to a motel in Kempsey which was organised by RACQ.

“I had nothing. It was awful having to impose on people that whole time. It's changed my opinion of people – there are some people who can do some really rotten things but then complete strangers will be good to you.”

Before Ms Perryman could get on her way again, she had to wait for a courier to deliver a spare key for the hire car. When it finally arrived, she found that somewhere along the way, the connector for the trailer had been lost so another kind stranger offered to give her a lift to town to purchase a new one.

“It just goes to show how things can go wrong when you're stressed,” she told The Gympie Times yesterday.

“I stopped to get fuel at Tuncurry and would you believe it, I couldn't get the fuel tank (cover) open because of the way the key was cut. It's six o'clock on a Saturday night by now but a fellow helped me get it open and I went and stayed at friends that night. After a meal and a couple of glasses of red wine I started feeling a lot better.”

Ms Perryman finally made it to her destination – a 70th birthday party – a little frazzled but better late than never.

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