A Date With The Fuel Attendant

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The recent fuel price hikes have somewhat forced me to be seeing fuel attendants more frequently. The change in price seems to have thrown off some motorists, particularly bus drivers coz they seem to be frequenting filling stations more often than before. Perhaps they’re still adjusting to the new Kwacha per litre ratio.

Every visit to the filling station comes with a different kind of attendant (or so one hopes). There’s the pleasant attendant, keen to do their job, an all-around decent guy or lady. And then there’s the cross looking one that works at a snail’s pace and just doesn’t give a hoot. The other day, while riding on a bus it was our turn to fill up and just like that a ‘type two’ attendant appeared, barking at us to get off the bus. Asking him why, he nonchalantly responds while looking away, “just in case the bus catches fire, you’ll be safer out here.”

Are you serious? Or are you just parroting what someone told you? Now I don’t know the whole procedure about vehicles burning at filling stations but I feel just as vulnerable off the bus as I would aboard it as the tank gets filled. In fact I’d feel a little bit much safer on the bus, which scares me. Besides when this thing decides to blow up, we’d all be toast out here.

What’s even more annoying is the fact that private cars are never emptied when filling up. Be it a Morris Mini Cooper or an SUV carrying seven people, I’ve never been asked to disembark a private vehicle while filling up the tank. It’s like only the commuter buses are prone to catching fire, just ridiculous. All this is happening while I’m trying to get to my destination on time.

Now here’s the best part, once the attendant tells us it’s ‘safe’ to get back on the bus, someone decides to change seats and takes my spot. By now I’m too spent to retaliate, I quickly accept that for the rest of the ride I have to sit in that little seat that requires me to stand up every time someone seated behind me is dropping. Perfect, all made possible by the tireless efforts of one competent fuel attendant.


Photo courtesy of businessdailyafrica.com


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