Sat | May 15, 2021

Hell and back

Fiancée ready to marry; liberated cabbie now focused on heavenly path

Published:Tuesday | May 4, 2021 | 12:29 AMRuddy Mathison/Gleaner Writer
Rescue workers carry George Smart on a stretcher after extracting him from a pit in the Jones Avenue section of Spanish Town. He had been inside the pit since last Wednesday night.
Rescue workers carry George Smart on a stretcher after extracting him from a pit in the Jones Avenue section of Spanish Town. He had been inside the pit since last Wednesday night.
George Smart
George Smart
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Melody Francis, the fiancée of 66-year-old George Smart,who was rescued after three days from a 55-foot pit in the Jones Avenue section of Spanish Town, St Catherine, is ready to tie the knot as soon as he recovers from an ordeal in which he dodged...

Melody Francis, the fiancée of 66-year-old George Smart,who was rescued after three days from a 55-foot pit in the Jones Avenue section of Spanish Town, St Catherine, is ready to tie the knot as soon as he recovers from an ordeal in which he dodged bullets and fought fire to stay alive.

Francis told The Gleaner that Smart operated an informal taxi service from Bayside in Portmore, and she had warned him against going to Jones Avenue after hours, but he would only transport persons he knew.

“He told me he had a new customer, a woman from Jones Avenue that he started taking home, so when he left Wednesday and I didn’t see him or hear from him for three days, I felt that something had happened in the Jones Avenue community,” said Francis.

Describing herself as a firm believer in Christ, Francis said that after not seeing her fiancée, she reported him missing on Saturday.

“All along I was in a bad space. I feel like something left me when he didn’t come home Wednesday night, but I still was hopeful that I would see him Thursday,” she recounted. “But, my God! Friday came and not a sight of him. Mi seh, ‘No, man. This can’t be right.’ Yet something within me was saying he is alive.”

She continued: “Something within me was telling me that he had taken this woman home on the last trip. I was still praying, believing that God would do something. It was after I finished praying Sunday morning, I got a call from the police that they had found him alive in a deep hole in Jones Avenue.”

Overjoyed at the news, she quickly made her way to the hospital to see Smart.

“The police told me to bring clothes for him because the clothes he had on Wednesday when he left were all torn to pieces. He looked like mess when I saw him,” she disclosed.

According to Francis, her fianceé recounted taking the woman to Jones Avenue about 11 p.m., and while he was navigating the speed bumps to exit the community, out of nowhere one man came up to the car and placed a gun at the side of his head and ordered him to stop.

Another man quickly appeared and they took all the cash plus his car keys and then walked him to a dark area, where they pushed him into a hole.

The men reportedly then fired multiple shots down the hole, but Smart was able to take cover under a concrete protrusion to avoid the bullets.

The crooks then poured gasolene down the hole with lit plastic bottles and paper.

Smart was able to use a piece of stick to bush away the burning objects and keep himself safe from the flames, although he found the smoke unbearable, she said.

Francis described the ordeal as a living hell, saying that Smart’s will to survive made him withstood hunger and dehydration, while praying to God for someone to rescue him.

She said that Smart, who was recently baptised, has assured her from his hospital bed that he is now ready to fully serve the Lord.

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