Local woman talks about meeting Nelson Mandela - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

Local woman talks about meeting Nelson Mandela

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CONCORD, NC (WBTV) -

For one woman in Concord the death of Nelson Mandela is something she takes very personally.  Roseann Headley met the former South African twice, but it wasn't under the best circumstances.

Anywhere that Nelson Mandela went, there were crowds, big lively crowds of folks thrilled with the chance to meet him, like Roseann Headley.

"It's just once in a lifetime you get to see this man," Headley told WBTV.

It was more than 25 years ago when Nelson Mandela visited the national stadium in Jamaica. That's where Headley was living at the time.  Her mother worked at the stadium and she was excited about having a chance to meet Mandela, but so were several thousand others.

"Coming through the gates and all of a sudden, this police shoot up in the air, and everything go chaos," Headley, a teenager at the time, vividly remembers.

The crowd surged forward, knocking over a fence.  Roseann was trampled, and as emergency workers rushed to care for her, she noticed someone else reaching out, it was Nelson Mandela.

"Even though I was getting trampled, that was the best thing in my life, of meeting this man," Headley added.

And later at the hospital they would meet again when Mandela came to visit those hurt in the rush.

Headley is saddened by the loss of her hero, but happy to be able to say she met someone who has had a true impact on the world.

"It's like my whole world just changed when I met this man," Headley told WBTV.  "Here this man in prison for 27 years, and I'm in the hospital, and this man don't feel sorry for himself and this man, and I say why I feel sorry for myself? So, I gotta pick up the pieces and say okay, I got do like him, not feel sorry for myself, but stand up for myself."

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