Employee who accidentally lowered gas to 69 cents per gallon tries to pay his station back. The station refuses
A little under two weeks ago, the manager of a Shell station in Rancho Cordova, Calif., made an error when resetting the station’s gas prices, entering 69 cents rather than $6.99. News of the price quickly went viral, and the station saw losses in the neighborhood of $20,000 before the price was corrected.
That manager—John Szczecina—was fired. But that’s when the story really got interesting.
Szczecina, in interviews following the incident, took full responsibility for the glitch. And before long, a GoFundMe page was launched by someone claiming to be his sister to raise money to pay the company back what it lost. That fundraiser ultimately gathered $23,523 before it was closed for donations.
“I’ve just been awestruck, I’m still in shock, you know. It just makes me feel like there’s good in this world and it’s worth fighting for,” Szczecina told KCRA in Los Angeles.
Now the Shell station that was supposed to be the beneficiary of that campaign has told Szczecina it doesn’t want the money.
In a letter to its former manager, the station said that “it is the company’s view that the people who have donated to your GoFundMe fundraising campaign have been misled. The…page should be shut down and the people who donated to you should have their money returned to them,” KCRA reported.
Specifically, the station said, it never intended to seek reimbursement for the lost money and it has no plans to take legal action against Szczecina. (The GoFundMe page said he was “being held responsible for the glitch” and “may be sued.”)
Shell also suggested two charities the money could be donated to instead.
The unintentional price cut was live for three hours in the city, a huge break for consumers who have seen prices above $6 per gallon for quite some time.
Mistakes aside, gas prices in California haven’t been in the 69-cent range since June 1978 (and even then, the average was likely for regular gas, not premium).
Sign up for the Fortune Features email list so you don’t miss our biggest features, exclusive interviews, and investigations.