Duncan Griffiths and Valerie Pool. PHOTO/SUE TEODORO

SUE TEODORO
sue.teodoro@age.co.nz

The search for a generous Samaritan who helped a Masterton pensioner out of a tricky situation is over.

In a happy reunion, Valerie Pool met the anonymous man who saved the day for her a few weeks ago.

Flat Point commercial fisherman Duncan Griffiths has been outed as the person who paid for Pool’s gas at Z Energy on Chapel St when she was unexpectedly caught at the checkout with no way to pay. She had forgotten her cards at home.

An appeal in the Times-Age, including Pool’s description, helped identify Griffiths, who came forward after a friend’s mother read the story.

“His mother had read the paper, and she said ‘that sounds like Duncan, give him a ring.’ That’s how I figured it out,” Griffiths said.

“Then we got the paper and put two and two together.”

Griffiths said his friend had been teasing him.

“He rung me up, and he was having a bit of a joke. He said ‘hey, can you come and pay for my gas as well”.

Pool said she had been unsure if Griffiths would come forward, but when he heard she wanted to meet him, he rang the Times-Age office.

She was keen to thank him in person and repay the $58 bill. Her brief description of a young man in a grey vehicle with a chubby face and well-trimmed beard did the trick.

“I’ve always wanted to do something like that and to be in the right position to be able to help,” he said.

“It just so happened I was in the right place at the right time. It was the least I could do. It’s been the talk of everyone through my family and friends,” he said.

“The grandparents were very impressed.”

He was philosophical about how Pool had described him.

“I was like, well, that’s me,” he said.

He said fuel stations were challenging places to manage that kind of situation.

Pool was determined to repay the kind gesture and tried to find Griffiths by phoning Z Energy and other places before contacting the Times-Age as a last resort.

“I’ll find him do or die,” she said.

“Not many would do that. It’s so good that a young guy like you stepped forward,” she told Griffiths.

She gave Griffiths a bear hug and a card, which he was shocked to discover contained $100, almost double what he had paid.

Paying it forward again, Griffiths has donated the whole amount to Starship Hospital after hearing Pool’s grandson Jack Hoswell had spent many months there as an infant.

Griffiths’ generous gesture happened on September 24 when Pool stopped for petrol on her way home from a medical appointment and she was horrified to realise she had left her purse at home.

“I turned around to the young man behind me and said, ‘oh my gosh, I’ve left my cards at home’. I felt so silly,” she said.

“I thought, ‘what am I going to do’. Then he said to the cashier, ‘I’ll pay for mine and hers’.”

It turns out Pool’s identifiers were more than good enough, and the mystery is solved.



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