Police are investigating a cowardly and malicious attack by a group of young men on a Good Samaritan in Wollongong.
What started with a late night walk ended with a punch to the face and a suspected broken nose for Michael Ralph on Wednesday night.
The Wollongong resident was set upon by three or four men, believed to be inebriated, after trying to help a man who he had met only minutes before.
After a long day at work, Mr Ralph went for a walk to Crown Street Mall to clear his head when he struck up a conversation with a middle-aged man also out for a stroll.
The pair started having a friendly chat before the two parted ways near the corner of Crown and Keira streets.
"I heard the man yell out to me in distress and we were only 100 metres apart," Mr Ralph said.
"He had been approached by three or four men but had done nothing to provoke them.
"The were a typical group of thugs who were roaming around town looking to attack.
"He was scared. I could tell it in his voice."
Mr Ralph said he clearly told the group to back away and did not instigate a fight.
"The group then turned their attention to me," he said.
"As I turned to leave one of the men ran up and king hit me in the face.
"I got away and the group headed off."
Mr Ralph said their body language indicated they were "looking for a fight".
"Someone was going to get hurt that night and it happened to be me," he said.
Mr Ralph said he could not have lived with himself if he had kept walking.
"I knew going to help was dangerous but I did not even consider not helping," he said.
"I wasn't trying to be a hero, I just heard a good man in trouble and did what I believe anybody should do."
Mr Ralph and his new acquaintance walked to a nearby hotel to get cleaned up and waited for police to arrive.
"My new friend was ok, he hadn't been assaulted but he was shaken up," he said.
"He was so grateful. I told him he didn't need to thank me so many times.
"It could have been much worse."
Wollongong police officers will be viewing CCTV footage in the mall and inquiries are continuing.
Mr Ralph said he was surprised and grateful for the amount of support and well wishes sent by residents after his posted his ordeal on a Facebook group.
"The messages on Facebook show that there are a lot of good people and unfortunately these guys were some of the bad apples," he said.
Mr Ralph said there was also some comments on Facebook saying he should not have been out that late at night.
"There seems to be an attitude that if you are out in town at a certain time then if you get attacked it is your own fault," he said.
"There was some victim blaming
"Unfortunately statistically there is a higher chance that something bad will happen but the last time I checked, it was legal to punch people in the face any time of the day or night."
Anyone will information should contact Wollongong Police Station on 4226 7899.