On August 13, 1996, The Star published a front page report about the traffic officer, Moses Molope, who managed to get Hugh Raichlin and his pregnant wife Michelle to Marymount Hospital in Kensington. Michelle was in labour with her third child, Jonathan.
The couple could not get to the hospital quicker because of heavy traffic.
The parents named the little boy Jonathan Moses Raichlin in honour of the heroic cop who helped bring him into the world.
Twenty-three years after his heroic act, Molope surprised Jonathan at his wedding, held two weeks ago.
Molope told The Star that on the day of the incident he was about to finish his shift in Cyrildene when the hysterical couple pulled over next to him and asked for a police escort to the hospital.
“He said the name of the hospital but I didn’t even hear the name because the wife was screaming.
“I did not know if she was shouting at me or her husband but she kept shouting, ‘The baby! The baby!’,” Molope said.
The then-27-year-old officer swung his car around and sped to the hospital while the couple tailed him.
The officer would sometimes stop his vehicle to halt traffic for the Raichlin’s car to pass through before following them again.
He and the couple arrived at the hospital and drove straight to the parking lot. Molope said he waited to see that they were attended to before leaving without waiting for thanks.
Jonathan, whose head was already protruding, was delivered on the passenger seat of his parents’ car.
Molope, his wife and his then 7-year-old daughter were even present for Jonathan’s third birthday party, but they lost touch after that.
Moses Molope surprised Jonathan at his wedding.
“My son got engaged a couple of months back and about three weeks before the wedding I thought I’ve got to find Moses. He has to be at the wedding,” Raichlin said.
The father, who is a lawyer, then asked his staff to do an extensive internet search to find Molope. They located him after a few days.
Molope, who is no longer an officer but works in the security industry, was asked to dust off his old uniform and surprise Jonathan on his big day.
“The department got so excited about it that they even made him a name tag to put on the uniform,” Raichlin said.
A young Moses Molope at Jonathan’s 3rd birthday.
Molope arrived at the wedding in civilian clothing and was told to stay out of the couple’s sight in case the son recognised him.
He changed into the uniform during speeches at the reception.
“I did a PowerPoint presentation and I showed people the front page articles of The Star, the Cape Argus, the Pretoria News and the South African London Times,” Raichlin said.
Jonathan told The Star that his father’s presentation confused him because he also spoke of Molope’s family history.
“He was going on and on and he kept talking about them and I was sitting there thinking ‘this is beautiful dad but where are you going with this?’ I didn’t understand but I was enjoying it,” he said.
Molope then walked out of his hiding place and approached the main table.
“I jumped out of my seat and ran up to him and I gave him a huge hug. I was overjoyed to see him especially 23 years after he helped bring me into the world,” Jonathan said.
He added that he felt incredible gratitude towards Molope.
“To be able to pay him the respect that he deserved, to thank him and for him to see what his actions all those years ago led to.
“It was very powerful and a beautiful moment that I don’t think I’ll ever forget,” Jonathan said.
Molope said his reunion with Jonathan brought him to tears.
“I was happy to see the young life that I helped bring into this earth as a big man who is getting into responsible adulthood,” he said.