This blog post is a series of events on the (now famous) BMW SLT driver.

Caltex.jpgPhoto: Shin Min

  • 14 April

On 14 April, Saturday, a Kelly Yeo, who was a customer at a Caltex station at Tampines Avenue 8, posted a feedback on Caltex Singapore’s Facebook page:

This was the post in full:

——
Dear Caltex,
I earlier witnessed an incident at Caltex Tampines Ave 8 @2pm on 14 April and it filled me with such indignation that it prompted me to write this to you, hoping that you could help alleviate the financial obligation of your employee and implement appropriate measures to handle the incident as follows.
While processing payment at the Cashier counter, the customer (picture uploaded herewith) and driver of BMW vehicle SLTXXXXG, claimed that your pump attendant had mistakenly refilled a full tank of petrol costing about $135 for his vehicle instead of the $10 petrol that he had instructed at Pump 7. He refused to pay the full amount and insisted to pay only $10 for the full tank.
The pump attendant probably in his early 60s, was subsequently summoned to the Cashier counter to verify. He explained that he had heard that it was a full tank refill but the customer immediately rebutted it. What happened next astonished me. Instead of creating a scene by engaging in an argument with the customer, the elderly pump attendant calmly informed the Cashier to let the customer pay $10 and he would personally absorb the rest of the cost. As a result, the customer walked away smugly paying a mere $10 payment for a full tank of petrol for his BMW Series 5 vehicle.
Whilst I was impressed with the collected composure and professional customer service that both your Cashier and pump attendant had displayed throughout the incident, I am deeply disturbed that the customer had capitalized on the opportunity to make the elderly pump attendant pay for the supposedly oversight. The customer could have responded gentlemanly and be gracious to forgive by paying for the petrol since his vehicle would need to consume it anyway. Alternatively, he could have paid for a partial amount instead of making the elderly pump attendant bear the full $125. Unfortunately, this was not so.
I have done some online research and noticed that the remuneration of a pump attendant averages about $1600/mth in Singapore. $125 means a significant 8% of his meagre salary. Would Caltex consider waiving this amount or allowing the pump attendant to pay at cost?
Also, assuming it was entirely the pump attendant’s oversight, under such circumstances, perhaps the Cashier could have proposed to the customer to pay for a partial amount instead of allowing the elderly pump attendant bear full monetary responsibility?
Alternatively, for proof of evidence, perhaps Caltex can install CCTVs equipped with audio recording of drivers’ instructions to the pump attendants at each pump? What are Caltex’s existing guidelines and policies to handle such situation? I am concerned that if no effective standard operating systems are defined, such practices of having pump attendants to bear the price discrepancies can lead to abuse. Imagine if one uses this approach on each petrol station in Singapore every few days, it is tantamount to one walking away striking lottery frequently and the accumulated value will be very substantial!
If you need more information, please feel free to PM me. You may also get a full account of the story and verify it by asking the Cashier involved and the pump attendant (a dark skinned Chinese uncle whose name is 2 characters and has a Ba or Ka in his name.
—–

This was when netizens collectively condemned the BMW driver’s actions for not letting the matter rest by being more gracious… and started their witch hunt!

  • 15 April
Chevron Singapore, the company that markets the Caltex brand, said on Sunday (Apr 15) that it was investigating an incident at one of its petrol stations in Tampines, after an account of it went viral on Facebook. Caltex also said that the pump attendant uncle wouldn’t have to pay for the $125.

This is Caltex’s post in full:

——-
Good afternoon Singapore, we are heartened by the solidarity and care shown towards our team at Caltex Tampines. Thank you for the kindness and concern.

We want to assure the community that our Caltex attendant did not bear any financial obligation from the events that occurred on April 14.

Do be assured that our station manager, together with the management team are looking into this issue now and an investigation is ongoing. For any enquiries on this issue, do get in touch with us via PM and we’ll get back to you.

We do encourage everyone to refrain from any personal or group responses towards the driver or those involved as our team is already looking into resolving this.

Thank you for your support.

——–

  • 15 April

The BMW driver was called out for his scams!

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Mothership also reported that a visitor to the same Caltex station said that the uncle involved in the saga is happy and well, and is back on duty at the kiosk on Sunday (April 15).

In fact, Shin Min reported that several motorists and residents had visited the station to offer the pump attendant some money. A Mr Wang, a regular, said that he wanted to help as he recognised that working in a petrol kiosk can be tough, and at times, mistakes may occur.

In addition, a Straits Times reporter who went down to the station on 15 April reported that pump attendants said that the driver had claimed that the car was not his and that he had borrowed it. Hence, he was only replacing the petrol he had used. Apparently, it’s also known to staff that they will made to bear the cost if they make a mistake. As such, they would have to double confirm with drivers before proceeding to refuel the car. 😦

  • 15 April

The BMW driver has filed a police report as he was worried for the safety of his family after netizens identified him online.

According to the police, it was a case of miscommunication between the pump attendant and the vehicle owner on the amount of petrol to be pumped at the petrol kiosk in Tampines. The police also verified that the vehicle owner was due to trade in his vehicle on the same day, and would not require more than the necessary fuel. Whuddd…

Wait… the driver said that his reason for topping up only $10 worth of petrol was because he was going to trade in his car? This is a starkly different story from his earlier claims that the car wasn’t his!

“After reading some of the comments on the Facebook post, I decided to lodge a report as I am afraid that these people will come to my house,” the BMW driver said. The driver said that he had received “many nuisance calls, SMSes and WhatsApp messages”.

Somehow, a copy of the police report has been circulated online:

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  • 16 April

Somehow, the car has been spotted everywhere across the island. Teck Whye, Buroh Street, Tampines, etc.

teck whye.jpg

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Netizens guessed that he has traded in his car, and this is the listing of the car: http://www.sgcarmart.com/used_cars/info.php?ID=731289

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  • 17 April
Memes soon sprouted everywhere, such as these:
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And of course, some people couldn’t just sit still. Check out this prank:
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Apparently, this is his “out of office” message:
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The saga continues!
Hmm. We still can’t figure out how his name got leaked in the first place!

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SG Daybook is a Singaporean-based blog featuring art, food, interesting people, and style. We also write about unconventional lifestyles, entrepreneurship and money matters.

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