Henry DeHart knew something was way off when he noticed his bill at the pump of a Tennessee gas station was only $ 5.64 after filling his tank with 12 gallons of premium fuel.
Previous customers that day had feigned ignorance over the massive mistake and drove off thinking they hit the jackpot.
But DeHart chose to do the right thing.
He went inside and informed the gas station owner about the bill and discovered he had been significantly undercharging for fuel for the past five hours.
DeHart wrote about the transaction in a Facebook post in which he explained to the owner his “premium fuel was off by a decimal and was only $ 0.45.”
According to AAA, the current average cost of gas in Tennessee is $ 4,571.
“He wasn’t getting it,” said DeHart of the owner. Because they had difficulty with the language barrier, DeHart asked him to print the receipt.
When he showed the owner he put 12 gallons in his car for $ 5.64, DeHart said the owner “ran back around the counter started poking at his screen and then turned green.”
“No one had told him in the last 5 hours.”
“There’s no telling how much money he lost today. He was on the verge of tears.”
Being a small business owner himself, DeHart could relate.
He insisted on paying the difference as the owner must have lost so much money that day from customers turning a blind eye and taking advantage of his costly gaffe.
The owner told ABC 7 “one to two hours of this can cost him $ 2,000.”
“At 45 cents a gallon that barely covers the federal and state gas tax, so he was basically giving fuel away for free, and it took a little while for somebody to stop and tell him.”
The average fuel retailer today makes a slim profit from gas sales, charging 10-15 cents per gallon, according to the National Association of Convenience Stores.
“What I find most frustrating about this is that this man, who came to a country to start a life, where they don’t speak his native language, with the guts to own a small business would get screwed over by people for half of day, “DeHart said on Facebook.
He also told the news station:
“I was hoping that people would kind of recognize, this is a small business owner.”
“I own a small business, every little thing impacts your bottom line. And yeah, he might have made a mistake, but to go five or six hours without knowing, that’s huge. ”
The owner thanked DeHart for his honesty. A woman in line told him he was “sweet” for informing him.
DeHart hopes other customers that day will follow his example by eventually returning to the gas station and settling their debts.