It was a beautiful, crisp, sunny day. I was singing to myself, "Oh, what a beautiful morning. Oh, what a beautiful day! I've got a wonderful feeling everything's going my way!" Little did I know.
Shelly said, "Your car has very little gas. I am in a rush so I will take care of it later."
Feeling in a carefree mood, I replied, "I will take Orchid, our dog, and we will do it!"
"You never put gas in the car," he replied.
"I can do it," I said. Shelly maintains our cars. He is the Yin. I am the Yang.
So with Orchid in tow, off we go to the gas station.
Arriving, I pull along side of one of the gas pumps. I get out of my car and read the instructions. "Easy enough," I think to myself. I turn around to open the gas tank only to realize it is on the other side of my car! Of course, the hose will not reach. So, I get back into my car, drive around, and park at another gas pump. I get out of my car a second time, take the hose out of the gas pump, turn around and my gas tank is still on the wrong side! Now, I notice a man standing in the doorway of the gas station smiling, as he watches this scene.
Feeling somewhat foolish, I smile and he returns the smile with a little wave. Into my car again, drive around again, get out of my car again, look at my gas tank again, and am finally happy and relieved that the gas tank is on the correct side that I do not notice a sign on the pump that reads... OUT OF ORDER! The man is still watching shaking his head and laughing! I felt like I was living a Saturday Night Live skit!
I finally get my act together and pull up, correctly, to another gas pump. I am more than a little frazzled, but I am determined and say out loud to Orchid, "Sheer determination will get us through this fiasco! It's almost over girl." I look up and notice that the man in the doorway gives me a "thumbs up!" I smile. I get out of my car, slide my credit card, take out the hose and put the hose into my tank. The hose will not stay in! It keeps falling out! I try and try. I want to cry! I look for help. Obviously the man in the door way is not going to offer his assistance as he continues to watch.
I notice a woman behind me filling her tank. "Can you please help me," I plead. She smiles. She helps me. We talk for a few minutes. I thank her and she walks back to her car.
I look down at the hose to make certain it is secure. I am so relieved I am finally going to be leaving this "war zone." All of a sudden I hear a loud BOOM! So loud it makes me jump! I look around.
I cannot believe the scene! My hand goes over my mouth in shock; I cannot comprehend what is happening!
The woman who helped me forgot that she had not taken the hose out of her car. As she pulls away to leave, she accidently yanks the entire hose out of the gas pump machine! I cannot believe my eyes! The pump's hose is dangling from her car! Gas is running out of the gas pump machine! The man in the doorway throws up his arms screaming, "A fire will start! A fire will start!" The woman stops short and jumps out of her car! I am standing there not believing this scene and thinking that the next thing to happen will be the entire gas station will probably blow up! I just stand beside my car, frozen. My Orchid who rarely barks is barking non-stop. The man is running towards the woman yelling, "You will pay for this! You will pay for this!"
The woman stays so calm. We both look at each other and then at her car with the gas pump hose hanging out of it. We cannot speak! We suddenly start to laugh. We look at the gas pump machine lacking a hose! I think to myself, now there will be two "out of order" signs at this gas station!
She says it was her fault and I say it was mine. I insist on paying for the damage but she refuses.
The man in the doorway finally reaches our side, his arms waving in the air! He says he is the manager. The woman explains to him that the owner and her husband are best friends. "Everything will be taken care," she says. He says, "there is a $500.00 deductible! Tell that to your husband!" I just stood there... speechless, as I listened to his tirade and watched the look of calmness on the woman's face. She never faltered. She never lost her cool. She was a lady.
The beginning of our friendship began that day. Since then we have become close friends and our husbands are friends! Hopefully the manager learned a valuable lesson... when he sees a "damsel in distress" at his gas station he helps her -- immediately!
Needless to say Orchid and I learned our lesson -- we stay away from gas stations.
This is a story that I shared with my grandchildren. I wanted to teach them the meaning of "true grit;" sticking with something until the end and the value of kindness. Stories can be the best source of keeping your child or grandchild engaged, so give it a try... and watch out for gas stations!