Public sentiment can take on a life of its own in the age of social media.
One man, who allegedly refused to pay for the full cost of petrol mistakenly pumped into the car he was driving, is now facing the heat caused by his actions.
According to Facebook user Kelly Yeo, the driver of a BMW Series 5 had claimed that a petrol station attendant had misheard request to pump just S$10 worth of petrol into the car.
As a result, he refused to pay the full S$135 price of a full tank of petrol at the Caltex station in Tampines on Saturday (Apr 14).
“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,” Kelly Yeo wrote on Caltex Singapore’s Facebook page.
She also said she was highlighting the issue because she was concerned that the pump attendant, who is in his 60s, would have to fork out a sum of money despite earning a “meager salary”.
“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 (sic),” she wrote.
Ms Yeo’s post has so far been shared close to 1,500 times.
As a full-time employee, the elderly attendant would be drawing an average monthly salary of around S$1,300, Shin Min Daily News reported on Sunday (Apr 15).
The report added that some members of the public who read about the incident later showed up offering to help the attendant with the cost.
Although Caltex Singapore has since responded to clarify that the pump attendant was not made to pay the cost of the petrol, social media users who read about the incident were already riled up to the point of no return.
And as we all know by now, the internet never forgives and certainly does not forget.
By Sunday afternoon, a Facebook page dedicated to “hunting” the BMW driver down had already been set up.
And by Monday morning, there were already six contributions to the page, each with either a photo of the alleged driver, or information about his occupation, workplace and car registration details.
Branding him as “SG Caltex Bully”, an administrator of the page said that the page was set up to “expose this idiot”.
“Do not bring harm to the family or expose the innocent. We just want him to remember we should make the world better, not to cheat or make people suffer,” the administrator added.
Some users on online forums even went so far as to track down the registration, season parking and road tax details of the BMW, even coming to the conclusion that it was an old car with a new license plate.
The car was even photographed with a ticket on its windscreen for being illegally parked at an HDB estate.
One of the forum threads on Hardware Zone has garnered so much interest, it received 2,710 replies in less than two days.