Hansle Parchment almost did not make his semifinal in the 110 meters hurdles at the Tokyo Olympic Games. Jamaica’s gold medal-winning hurdler said while trying to get to the Olympic Stadium in the Japanese capital of Tokyo for that race, he accidentally took the wrong bus and ended at an aquatics arena.
After asking for help, Olympics officials told the 31-year-old athlete that his only option was to head back to the Olympic Village and take another bus to the correct venue. Doing that meant he wouldn’t have enough time to warm up for the race.
Thus, Parchment tried to find another way to the Olympic Stadium and even asked one of the branded cars for the Games to take him to the venue.
Thankfully, a stranger intervened. 25-year-old Olympics volunteer Tijana Stojkovic gave Parchment money to take a taxi directly to the stadium. “I saw this volunteer and I had to beg, because, of course, she is not allowed to do much and she actually gave me some money to take one of the taxis that’s affiliated with the whole Games and that’s how I was able to get to the warm-up track at the stadium, with enough time to warm up to compete and that’s just awesome,” Parchment said.
The athlete finished second in his semifinal on August 4, behind the United States’ Grant Holloway. Finishing second pushed him to the final, where he won gold.
And two days after winning gold, Parchment tracked down Tijana, repaid her for the cab, and showed her the gold medal he had won. “You were instrumental in me getting to the final that day,” he told Tijana as he showed her the gold medal. He also gave her a Team Jamaica shirt.
Jamaica’s Prime Minister Andrew Holness also thanked Tijana for her help. “Every Jamaican knows that gratitude is a must. @ParchmentHansle demonstrates that perfectly here,” Holness wrote while sharing Parchment’s video that documented his journey.
Jamaica’s Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett has invited the woman to visit Jamaica. “No matter where in the world she is, we want to reciprocate the kindness shown to one of our own,” Bartlett told The Gleaner.