When you are kind to others, that kindness will come back to you in some way, shape, or form. For gas station attendant Nkosikho Mbele, that kindness came back to him in a way that he never could have imagined. Read on to learn more about this incredible story.
Gas Attendant Is Repaid Incredibly For His Kindness
Monet van Deventer was traveling on N2 headed toward Cape Town back in 2019. That’s when the 21-year-old account manager and student realized her gas meter was warning her that if she didn’t get gas soon, she’d be stranded on the side of the highway. No matter where in the world you are, it is not safe for a young woman to be stranded like that. This is especially true in South Africa. (1)
Deventer pulled into a gas station to fill up her tank. One of the workers, 28-year-old Mbele, came up to start washing off her windshield. Deventer had a sneaking suspicion that she perhaps didn’t have her credit card on her. She looked in her purse and sure enough, she had left her card at home. Quickly, she told Mbele to stop washing her windows because she had no way to pay for the gas. (2)
Mbele, however, had already noticed the gas light that was glaring red on her dashboard. He was stressed as he realized she was in a tricky situation.
“He said to me, ‘ma’am, you can’t run out of petrol on the N2’. And he said, ‘I’ll pay R100 and whenever you are near again you can just give me back my R100’,” Deventer wrote in a post on Facebook.
An Angel In Disguise
Before she could respond, he began putting gas in her car. At first, Deventer thought that it was maybe something that Shell does as a business model. Then she realized that he wasn’t paying with a company card, but his own. The amount of money he paid is about equal to a day’s salary for Mbele. Deventer was completely shocked at his kindness, especially considering he likely knew that the chance of a random stranger returning and paying him back was slim.
“He didn’t know me at all, he didn’t ask for my number or anything. He took a chance and I could have never come back.” she explained.
Deventer did return the next day, with the money and a box of chocolates as a thank you. Naturally. Mbele was somewhat surprised and very much appreciative.
“I was so grateful that she came back. I could see in her eyes that she appreciated my help, you know when someone sees that you have done something for them. I could see it in her eyes that she really appreciated that I had done something for her,” he said.
The Facebook Post That Changed Everything
Deventer wrote about her story on Facebook and soon comments, likes, and shares began pouring in. She began receiving requests for some way to donate to Mbele. She spoke with Mbele, and they set up a crowdfunding campaign where people could donate. Mbele said that he wants to use the money to help improve his community and of course, his own family. That campaign exploded, and quickly the amount exceeded eight years’ worth of Mbele’s annual salary. He is overwhelmed by the response.
“I was just doing what anyone else would have done, from the heart. I believe there is no black and white and that we are all one people and I just want to bring people together.” he explained.
He has since shut down the account because he says that it was already far too much money. Though excited, he was also worried for his and his family’s safety. The newfound wealth would make them targets to be robbed or worse. For this reason, he asked the website, BackaBuddy, to hold the money. At his request, they are going to use it to build him and his family a house, pay his children’s school fees, and pay their bills. At the time, Mbele was living with his mother, brother, and two children in a small shack.
“I know how dangerous that stretch of the N2 is that she wanted to travel and my faith in God told me it was the right thing to pay for her to travel safely so I bought her fuel for her,” he said. “I was just happy to see her drive away knowing she would arrive where she had to get to safely and I had no idea that I would have my life so blessed in return for what I did.”
His luck didn’t stop there. When his employer, Shell, heard about his story, they also wanted to contribute to Mbele’s dream of helping his community. They told him that they were going to match the amount of money donated and give it to a charity of his choosing. Mbele said he was going to put it towards a charity that supports youth in his community. He wants to help young people and make a difference in their lives.
On top of that, Shell flew him to a conference in Zanzibar where they nominated him for a staff excellence award. All of this was because of an act of kindness that, in his eyes, wasn’t a big deal. For Deventer, it could’ve meant life and death. This stretch of highway is notoriously dangerous, and not long before a young couple was shot and killed there when their car ran out of fuel.
“It is all quite amazing and when I walk round the township after work I keep getting stopped and asked to pose for selfies – my life has been turned upside down,” Mbele explained.
If there’s one thing we can learn from this story, it’s that what seems like a small deed to you might be a big deal for someone else. Not only that, but when you help someone else, chances are that kindness will be returned to you.
- “‘I feel like I’m dreaming’: petrol attendant stunned by reaction after paying for stranded motorist’s fuel.” Times Live. Aron Hyman, Nomahlubi Jordaan. May 31, 2019.
- “Black gas pump attendant who paid for white woman’s fuel in dangerous South African area when she forgot her wallet receives EIGHT-YEAR’S pay – £26,600 – after she set up fund to thank him.” Daily Mail. Jamie Pyatt. June 10, 2019.