Michèle Simonis lost her handbag in Mossel Bay and only realised when they were too far to turn back. Thankfully, the bag and all its contents made its way back to Belgium.
Michèle Simonis and her family were travelling through Mossel Bay, heading back to Cape Town to travel home to Belgium. They made a quick pitstop at the Engen 1 Stop in Mossel Bay before the long trek back to the Mother City.
About 200km into their trip, Michèle realised she had forgotten her handbag in the bathroom of the 1 Stop. They knew it was too far to turn back and had no hope of seeing the bag again.
However, that wouldn’t be the case. What happened next was a true show of how great South African hospitality can be. The Engen staff worked tirelessly 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 originally discovered by staffers Lynette Josephs, Hazel Matiso and Monique Floors, who then alerted the Mossel Bay director, Dirk van Niekerk. Dirk and the women managed to find a person to carry the bag over to Europe and reunite it with the family.
It turned out that the son of the owner of a George guesthouse was set to return home to Germany. The staffers managed to get the bag delivered to the guesthouse in time for it to be taken to Germany. From there it was couriered to Simonis in Belgium and reunited with Michèle.
Her husband Luc Theunissen was astounded: “South African people are really incredible”. In his first letter to Dirk 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.
Dirk confirmed the contents of the bag, bringing relief to the family.
“Looks like everything is still in the handbag – even the money!”
Dirk Van Niekerk felt immense pride for his staff and their efforts to return the bag to the rightful owner.
“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,”
Stories like these are what keep tourists returning to our beautiful country. Such a lovely job was done by all involved.