It's goodbye to Mr Spuddy, as veteran calls it a day
Calling it a day after 32 years at the gas stationBLANTON SMITH
The "Mayor of Moturoa" is hanging up his hose after 32 years pumping gas.
Gary Spurdle has run around the forecourt of the Moturoa service station since 1982 and said he had enjoyed every minute of if.
"It's been bloody brilliant," Spurdle told the Taranaki Daily News yesterday.
Spurdle said before starting at Moturoa he had worked at and owned another petrol station and then a supermarket, which was sold in 1981.
"I told my wife I was going to take a year off after that," he said.
However, that was not to be and five months later he was approached by the owner of the petrol station, Harry Van Beers.
"Harry rang me up and said he needed a forecourt manager, but I told him I'm never going to pump another gallon of petrol again in my life.
"I started the next day and that was April Fool's Day 1982. I've been here ever since," the 64-year-old said.
Spurdle said his motto was to treat everyone as equal.
BP operations manager Vaughan Keighley said Spurdle gave better customer service than anyone he knew.
"Mr Spuddy, he's the lifeblood of that place, some people call him the Mayor of Moturoa."
"People come from kilometres away to get service from him and a bit of banter."
Some got even better service, forecourt worker Kathie Harris said.
"If you're a woman you get a cuddle, the children get an Eskimo lolly and if you're a dog you get a piece of luncheon."
Spurdle has also been a part of the breakfast club, which has been running for 29 years.
"Every morning at about 5.30am there's about six of us guys who sit down the front for coffee," he said.
"Over the years there have been All Blacks captains who have joined us, the Mad Butcher has been here a couple times, Eric Rush and John Kirwan. It's been something special," Spurdle said.
Spurdle will finish on June 27 and said he would spend more time with his wife Ann and dog Cleo, though he will still manage one shift a week.
"I've promised her [Ann] we would visit friends in Rarotonga and go to Australia," he said.
- Taranaki Daily News
Should the media report suicide?