South Africans open their wallets for humiliated petrol attendant

10 September 2020 - 09:32
By Karabo Ledwaba
Sphamandla Ndabezitha
Sphamandla Ndabezitha

Sphamandla “Wiseman” Ndabezitha was hurt and shocked when a customer humiliated and tricked him into putting the wrong amount of petrol into his car as a practical joke.

But now the joke is on the customer as South Africans have pulled together to donate money for the petrol attendant.

The 38-year-old from Elandskop in Pietermaritzburg said in his seven years as a petrol attendant he had always made it his mission to make sure that people are always happy with his work.

“My mom almost named me Happy and that is how I want people to feel when they come to me,” he said. "So when he did this to me I was very shocked and hurt, to be honest.”

Ndabezitha said that when the customer asked him to put in “two ten” as heard on a video of the incident, he asked for clarification before putting in petrol to the amount of R210. To his surprise, the customer then paid him R20 in the form of two R10 notes.

“He ended up paying the money after he was confronted by someone at the petrol station,” Ndabezitha said.

Ndabezitha, who has also worked as a gardener and a domestic worker, said the customer gave him a R10 tip. "I said thank you but I was still shocked,” he said. He found out later that there was a video of the interaction after it went viral on social media on Tuesday.

He said he is not bitter about the incident because he does not like the feeling of anger.

Ndabezitha is excited that NPO Country Duty is organising donations for him from South Africans.

“Tumi Sole told me that people are donating money. I don't know how much it is yet but I'm happy,” he said.

The father of three sons aged 7, 6 and 5 said he wants to build his children and mother a house.

He said he is currently working far from home and is living in a mud house with his friend.

Sole said Country Duty decided to intervene because Ndabezitha's dignity needed to be restored.

“Country Duty entails helping fellow South Africans, particularly the vulnerable, poor and marginalised. The video was in bad taste and I couldn’t let it go unnoticed. Mzansi has helped in various requests for donations and Wiseman deserved his dignity to be restored,” said Sole.

Wayne Smit, who is the owner of the BP Quarry Service Centre in Pietermaritzburg, said they do often have people who drive off without paying their bill.

“We do often get people who drive off but mainly it's when someone has no registration plates. I can't speak for other garages but I can't hold my staff responsible for fraud and people who drive off,” said Smit.

Here are some of the donations: