When Belgian tourist Michèle Simonis realised she had forgotten her handbag at the Engen 1 Stop in Mossel Bay, the family was already 200km away and believed they would never see it again.
But they soon discovered that South African hospitality runs deep and that Engen staff would go the distance necessary to reunite bag and owner, even if the family had already departed the country for home.
Getting the bag back to Belgium was a joint effort; it was discovered by Engen staffers Lynette Josephs, Hazel Matiso and Monique Floors, who then alerted Engen 1 Stop Mossel Bay director, Dirk van Niekerk.
From there, the bag was delivered to the son of the owner of a George guesthouse, who was set to return home to Germany, from where it was couriered to Simonis in Belgium. Her husband Luc Theunissen was astounded: “South African people are really incredible.”
In his first letter to Van Niekerk, Theunissen expressed concern about whether the bag still contained a pair of glasses, his wife’s keys and a USB stick containing pictures of the couple and their daughter’s on holiday in Oudtshoorn. Van Niekerk responded: “Looks like everything is still in the handbag – even the money!”
“I am extremely proud of our staff. They turned a situation that could have left a bad taste in the mouths of foreign visitors into a total triumph,” commented Van Niekerk.
The Simonis family at Cape Point