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Free Gas!

I am big on doing the right thing. At the park Saturday night, someone left some trash on the ground. As I left, I took a moment to place their trash in the trash can. A small effort on my part. Yesterday we pulled into Weigel’s to get some gas. Cathy and I both noticed that the pump handle/hose had fallen off one of the pumps. I parked on the other side, got our gas going, then walked around to the other side and hung it up. As I turned to return to my side of the pump, it bleated out, "Please pay the cashier!"

Now I’m not typically naive but this one caught me off guard. I know people steal gas but it has never been in my face before. Frankly I never thought about the process. I stole gas once by accident. We went to Disney World in Dec 2000 and in north Georgia we stopped for gas. I thought my father-in-law paid; he thought I paid; About the Tennessee border we realize no one paid. We made a couple of phone calls and paid with a credit card over the phone. Of course, I fully expected a state trooper to pull us over before we ever hit the border! So I assume the process of stealing gas is to pump the gas, neatly put the hose away, and squeal tires as you make your escape. Apparently the real process is to pump gas, and not the lowest octane! This crook went medium grade. Only do half a tank. This crook pumped $24.95. 16 gallons right now runs about $35. And the important step! Do NOT return the hose/handle to the pump because that signals the cashier that you are done.

When I told the cashier about the drive-off. She looked up, shrugged, declared "looks like someone did drive off," then explained "it happens all day long." All day long! What kind of society is this?! I can appreciate desperation and bad luck but never could I imagine having to steal. I wonder if they steal because they are trying to get ahead, if they steal out of desperation, or if they steal for the thrill. It is amazing how many organizations exist to help people. CAC will help pay your electricity. Fish will bring you food. Churches will step up. There are many others but none really publicized. I wonder if these thieves feel out of resources and do not know where to turn, or are they just bad people? Maybe it is not enough to donate time and resources to these organizations. Perhaps we need to do a public service by informing the communities about these organizations.

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