Social Investment From beggar to petrol attendant in one act of kindness

From beggar to petrol attendant in one act of kindness

Sibongiseni Nkosi no longer has to beg for food or small change. Now when motorists approach him at the Engen petrol station in Auckland Park, he asks them about their day before filling up with pride.

These days, 22-year-old Nkosi is proudly earning his keep as a petrol attendant and is looking forward to the liberating prospect of being able to provide for himself and his grandmother, News24 reported.

The remarkable turnaround in the former beggar’s life came about when the helpful young man didn’t think twice to help push motorist Vic Campher’s broken-down car two weeks ago. An spontaneous act of kindness which he never expected would change his life in the way it has.

Campher, who confesses to classic cars being his hobby, told News24 he was driving his old Jaguar down Kingsway Avenue when it broke down and he was left stranded.

“It was 6.30pm and getting dark. I was worried about how to get back, but then Tom, which is Sibongiseni’s street name, came running along and started helping me.”

Vic Campher

They had to push the broken-down Jaguar all the way to the Volvo dealership where Campher is a managing director.

“He had to push the car quite far. He never asked any questions and kept on pushing. He gave the best he could and we got the car back and locked it up.”

Campher gave the young Vredendorp man R50 and a burger and chips. He couldn’t help but think of Springbok coach Rassie Erasmus’s recent comment that there were lots of societal problems in our country and that the real pressure was that of not having a job.

“I thought, ‘Let’s give him a chance’.”

Campher, whose family also owns the Engen petrol station on the same premises as the dealership, gave him a uniform, a trainee bib and an opportunity to show what he was truly made of.

Nkosi’s supervisor, Innocent, says he couldn’t help but feeling somewhat tearful when he saw Nkosi at work in his uniform and was asked to oversee his training.

“Sometimes he would come here and ask for something. Now if you see him, you would be impressed.”


His proud supervisor said that the whole team has come on board with their support of Nkosi.

And on Friday last week, Nkosi hung up his trainee bib and is now serving customers with pride as a fully fledged petrol attendant!

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