BMW driver in Caltex incident: 'Attendant misheard me, raised his voice and had bad attitude'

A BMW driver who was embroiled in a furore over the topping up of his fuel tank at a Caltex petrol station in Tampines said that the elderly kiosk attendant had misheard his instructions.

The driver also alleged that the attendant displayed a bad attitude and did not acknowledge his mistake. 

He insisted that during the incident, which happened at the Caltex petrol kiosk in Tampines Avenue 8 on Saturday (April 14), he had asked to pump only $10 worth of petrol, but the attendant thought he wanted a full tank and pumped $135 worth instead. 

The driver told Shin Min Daily News: "That day, I had an appointment at a dealer in Jurong East, and was going to trade my car in for another,

"As the distance from Tampines to Jurong is quite far, I was worried that I wouldn't have enough fuel, so I went to the kiosk to top up $10 worth of petrol."

He recounted that he had arrived at the kiosk and an elderly attendant, who looked to be in his 60s, asked if he wanted a full tank.

The driver then replied in Mandarin: "Premium 95, $10 worth."

However, when he tried to make payment, the cashier told him that his tank was not yet filled.

The driver then said that he only wanted a $10 top up and that they could remove the excess petrol they had pumped. 

The cashier subsequently called the attendant over for an explanation.

Said the driver: "The attendant insisted that I had asked him for a full tank. I denied but he would not admit his mistake. 

"He even raised his voice and told the cashier, 'Okay, let him pay $10, I’ll pay the rest of the money myself', before walking away."

The driver acknowledged that he had been angered by the attendant’s rudeness and stubbornness, but insisted that he never thought of making the latter shoulder the remaining sum. 

He said that he would contact Caltex to clarify the matter. 

Since the incident, the driver has lodged a police report, citing that he was worried for the safety of his family members after netizens revealed his identity online, reports The Straits Times

He is also intending to pursue the matter legally, adding that the netizens do not know the full story but are quick to judge, posting his photos online. 

This has resulted in an online 'public trial'.

He lamented: "These netizens, they don’t know about the full details of the incident. They simply take your photos and place it online.

"This is defamation, and I will consider legal actions."

He revealed that he is involved in sales, and the actions by the netizens could be detrimental to his reputation and work. 

He said: "I'll start working again on Tuesday.

"I believe my boss and customers will ask me about this incident. I’m fully prepared to explain everything to them."

The driver also rebuked claims made by some netizens that he had told the attendant 'fuel ten' to mislead him into thinking that he said 'full tank' instead. 

He insisted that he spoke to the attendant entirely in Mandarin. 

In response to media queries, the police confirmed a police report was filed.

A police spokesman added: "We have looked into the matter and established that no offence was disclosed. 

"It was a case of miscommunication between the pump attendant and the vehicle owner on the amount of petrol to be pumped. 

"We have verified that the vehicle owner was due to trade in his vehicle on the same day, and would not require more than necessary fuel."

The police said that both parties have been advised to settle the matter amicably. 

Chevron Singapore, which markets the Caltex brand, told The Straits Times that it was aware that a police report had been filed over the incident.

"This is now a police matter and we will work closely with the authorities in that respect.  

"In the meantime, we would respectfully request the community to refrain from any personal or group responses towards those involved and leave the matter to the appropriate authorities."

Caltex Singapore had issued a statement on Saturday (April 14), assuring the public that the attendant "did not bear any financial obligation from the events that occurred on April 14".

Colleagues of the elderly attendant have also vouched for his character, saying that he has worked at the kiosk for over 10 years, and is always friendly to customers.

An employee said that he strongly believes that the uncle had not been rude, as insinuated by the driver. 

He added: "He has worked here for over 10 years. If he has poor customer service, how could he have stayed on for so long?

"This is, after all, customer service. If he has a bad attitude, he would have lost this job long ago."

The employee also reiterated that if the uncle had an attitude problem as suggested, he would not have offered to pay from his own pockets or keep mum about the entire incident.