BEWILDERED AND BUMFUDDLED AT THE GAS STATION

Today I went to the gas station to get some gas. (I tend to start freaking when the gas needle get to a quarter of a tank.) Since the gas station is right across from the drugstore, I took care of two errands in one trip. *********** Just a quick rant before I continue. Why do people stop at the first gas pump, instead of pulling all the way to the second? So annoying. And, then, when a person finishes pumping their gas, and goes inside to pay…they will see a long line behind them waiting for the pump…will they move their car first? Why, no! You can just sit there and wait till they amble in, peruse the chip and candy aisle, search out the Big Gulp…and then go and pay. Then amble slowly out to their car. But, wait! There’s more! They will stand at the garbage container in between the pumps and s.l.o.w.l.y. open their chips and/or candy and drink…and only then get in to their car, AND MOVE OUT OF THE WAY !!! Rant over.***********

As, I got out of my car, I noticed an ‘older than me’ lady who was standing in front of the pump behind mine. I first noticed her because she was dressed in a way my Mom would have been. Khaki slacks, and knit top and a light coral jacket. She had on sensible shoes…..and they matched her pants. Her hair was ‘right from the beauty parlor’ neat, and she had a gold herringbone chain around her neck. Neat as a pin, she was.

However she was staring at the pump as if she had never seen one in her life…..and holding her credit card in her hand. Sensing distress, I walked around the pump.

Me: Excuse me, ma’am. Do you need some help?

Lady: Well, I reckon I do, Shug. Do you know where the directions are on this gas machine?

Me: Let’s see. There they are, right up there on top.

Lady: Well, that’s not going to help me a bit. I don’t have my glasses.

Me: I can help you. I’ve done this a few thousand times.

Lady: Well, how many cars do you have, shug?

Me: Only one.

Lady: So, maybe more like a hundred…

Me: (Feeling like a naughty school girl in front of the teacher) Yes, Ma’am. I’ll say a few hundred.

Lady: Be specific, dear.

Me: I bet you were a school teacher.

Lady: Taught in the County for 40 years.

I could tell.

Me: OK. Let’s see if we can get you some gas. Let me see your card. Look, you slide it right in here.

Lady: WAIT! Do you know where it is going? You can’t let just anybody see your card, you know. Don’t you know that?

Me: Yes, ma’am. But, it doesn’t go anywhere. See, you just slide it in here, so the machine can read it and it comes right back out.

Lady: You’re sure?

I nodded.

I put the card in and pulled it right back out. While I was at it, I showed her how to match up the strip on the back with the strip shown on the machine. Then I asked her what kind of gas she wanted. She didn’t know. I told her my husband told me to always use the first one. And, that’s what I did. And, that’s what I chose for her.

Lady: You always do what your husband says, hon?

Me: Well, I always try to do what he wants me to. Especially if he knows more about it than I do. OK, do you know how to put this into the car?

Lady: Well, I’m not stupid, Shug.

Me: Oh, it has nothing to do with stupidity. It’s just whether you’ve done it before. Neither my mother nor my sister know how.

Lady: Do you pump their’s?

Me: No. No, I don’t. But, I would if I needed to. OK. See, you just twist this cap off and then you put the nozzle into the tank and squeeze the handle. Just keep squeezing until it stops by itself. (I didn’t think I would confuse her with the doo-dah that holds the gas on for you).

Me: OK, you got it? Why don’t you try it?

Lady: No, that’s OK, you just go ahead and finish it up for me this time. I don’t want to get that gas smell on my hands.

Me: Well, allrighty, then.

I finished pumping HER gas and I showed her how it would cut off. Then I walked her through putting the nozzle back and tightening the cap.

Lady: I need my receipt, now. I have to have my receipt!.

So, I showed her how it would ask her and where to push. Sure enough, it came right out.

Me: Well, I think that’s got you fixed up.

Lady: Well, Hon, I couldn’t have done it without you. You just saved this old woman today.

Me: Well, I was glad to help you. If you don’t mind me asking, who usually gets your gas for you.

Lady: (she put her hand over her mouth and giggled) I’ve got a good plan. When I go to church on Sunday, I stop by the young men’s class and say, ‘what handsome fella wants to get me some gas today?’ And, then I tell them that if someone doesn’t get it for me….I’ll go home with one of them for the afternoon. I always have someone who will hop up and go get it for me. I hate for them to miss Sunday School, but what’s an old widow woman to do?

Me: (laughing) I think that sounds like a pretty good plan to me. But, what do you do if you need gas during the week?

Lady: (smiling) I just drive up here to the Shell station. Park my car by one of the pumps, and get out of the car. Then I just hold my card in my hand and wait. Doesn’t take long for someone to come along and ask me if I need help.

Me: Like I just did today.

Lady: Yes, Ma’am. You were my angel today.

Me: Well, I am so glad I could help you out…but I don’t know about the angel part.

Lady: Well, Hon, it’s like this…Before I leave home to come to the gas station, I pray that God will send me an angel to help me with my gas. And, He always does. Sometimes, they are kids, sometimes working men, and sometimes young ladies like yourself….but one always comes. I never have to wait more than 5 or 6 minutes.

Me: So, you really do know how to pump your gas…you just don’t like to.

Lady: Oh, I think I could do it if I had to. But, it really does intimidate me. And, I have such little strength in my hands now.

Me: Well, I hope God keeps on blessing you with helpers.

Lady: Oh, He will. He will. Thank you again, Dearie. Bye, now.

And with that she got into her car and drove off. I watched her go to the light and pull back into the traffic. So, she prays for an angel every time she needs gas…I wonder how many folks notice her and just walk on by…not taking a few minutes to help. And…..I wondered if maybe it was really the other way around. Maybe she was the angel God put into my path at the gas station. Whew! I’m glad I had on my ‘Be Kind’ hat that day…I haven’t been called an angel in a long, long time. And, truth be told…the blessing was all mine!

****************************************************************************

Q: WHY DID THE TURTLE CROSS THE ROAD ?

A: TO GET TO THE SHELL STATION !!

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9 Comments

  1. What a sweet story! I actually remember the first time my mom and I pumped gas by ourselves. We (Daddy) farmed, and so we always had a big gas tank down at the barn, and that's where we would go and get our gas. I seem to remember pumping it there before, but it was different than a regular gas pump. I'm sure we were quite a sight the night Mama and I tried to pump gas at a gas station, but we figured it out!

  2. AWWWW, Tonja!!! What a sweet moment (more like fifteen, I imagine).

    One of the loveliest things anyone ever said to me was from lady in my hometown—I suppose I was in my thirties and she eighties. I had quite a few older people I would pick up a few things for at the store, or their prescriptions, or take them doctor-visiting on my afternoons off.

    One day as I settled her back in her chair after we got back home out of that Mississippi heat, she held my hand and said, "Honey, when you get to be MY age, I hope there's a YOU around to do things for you."

  3. You always seem to have the most interesting experiences with people! Maybe it's because you pay attention and are so kind! (I'll never forget your story about being in T.J. Max I think it was!!!)

  4. O!!!! I love this!!!! I should have worn my Be Kind Hat to the Door to Door sales gal. But, no regrets, just good lessons!!!! Right! 🙂
    This story is priceless!!! So are YOU!

  5. You certainly meet the most interesting people. I love the story about the Sunday School class.

  6. Sweet story. Love it. I hope there is an angel any time my Mom needs one.

    Hugs to you sweet angel,
    Kat

  7. Great story! If we take the time to look around us, I am sure there are other opportunities for us to minister to people every day. Thanks for opening my eyes! And by the way, you are always an angel!

  8. No matter what the situation is, or how weird the people you encounter are, you always treat them with utmost respect and patience, Tonja. How blessed that sweet lady was to have you as "her angel" that day. I know she will remember your kindness and sweet spirit for a very long time.

  9. You tell the nicest tales. Your an angel!

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