Building a team with a stranger …

A recent Sunday morning trip to Mt Lofty Botanical Garden with my husband, Ron, went awry thanks to a van and a huge kangaroo that had strayed into suburbia.

As we approached the final turn into the gardens, the roo came bounding across in front of our car and into the undergrowth in a ditch beside the road. One leg was flailing in the breeze as it jumped.

Sadly, the kangaroo had leapt in front of the van that ran over his foot, disabling the entire leg.

The van driver stopped and between the three of us, a plan unfolded to get help for the kangaroo. Interestingly, without any discussion, we drifted into different roles to attend to the situation.

The distraught van driver phoned Fauna Rescue who were unable to dispatch anyone to assist. Ron remained in our car with the hazard lights alerting drivers to the potential hazard – a roo that kept trying to stabilise itself long enough to jump back onto the road. He also listened to the van driver who wanted to off-load what had actually happened and who was noticeably upset.

As the kangaroo moved through the undergrowth, intermittently collapsing then regaining his footing, I stood on the opposite side of the road to flag down motorists in case he managed to get back onto the road. I had to keep my distance, as native animals, particularly if injured, can be unpredictable.

One of the drivers who came by was a man who normally shot  injured roos and usually had his weapons in the truck, but on this occasion he was unarmed. Fortunately, he was able to supply the phone number of an expert marksman who lived just over the hill.

The marksman arrived to attend to the stricken beast, so we made our exit, leaving the van driver and shooter to discuss the next course of action.

I marvelled at how the situation had unfolded – firstly recognising the compassion of the van driver who stopped when many would have driven on. Then I noted that without any plan we drifted into roles in which we were comfortable and that were necessary for the safety of the public and also the injured animal.

A Team can be built when people with a common purpose see a need and work within their skill set to fill that need.

We never did get to the gardens that day, but probably filled a greater need by ensuring that the kangaroo was given the assistance it required in its hour of need.

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