To be confronted by two armed men while driving your car and to then be bundled into the trunk will be a terrifying ordeal for anyone, but a South African man who experienced exactly that still had the clarity of thought to send a text to his girlfriend telling her precisely what was happening. Even better, thanks in part to Twitter’s retweet function, the man was eventually rescued.
The victim, whose name hasn’t been reported, was out driving in the South African city of Johannesburg at the weekend when his frightening ordeal began.
After receiving the man’s text message, his girlfriend, Lynn Peters, tweeted her boyfriend’s car make and license plate to her 71 followers, alerting them to the unfolding drama and asking them to look out for the vehicle.
“Be on the look for DSS041GP, my boyfriend has just been hijacked and is in the boot,” Peters wrote in her tweet, adding a request for a retweet.
It was a good move — after seven of her friends retweeted the message, it was retweeted again by others and soon spread to thousands of users of the microblogging site.
Fortunately for Peters’ boyfriend, members of a private security firm read the tweet and leaped into action. Employees of the firm were able to pinpoint the location of his mobile phone and therefore track his vehicle, which was still on the move. The security officers also tweeted live updates to keep the public abreast of what was happening.
Two hours after the man had been bundled into the trunk of his car and driven off, the vehicle smashed into a police road block, bringing his scary ordeal to an end. The man was reported to be shaken but otherwise unharmed.
Tanisha Reddy, a friend of the man, later tweeted that she was “…overwhelmed by the support of complete strangers.” The episode certainly shows that a simple retweet can sometimes go a very long way.