A close friend had surgery today and I decided to take my lunch break to check on him. My office is right beside a Food City so I thought I’d stop in and get him a get-well plant and some snacks.
As I was pulling out of the rear entrance of our office parking lot, I see a red pickup truck loaded down with pallets, stranded and a guy walking away from it (in the direction of the Food City) with a small gas can. Now, many people would never pick up someone in this situation, but I am my mother’s daughter and she taught me that if the good Lord decides to take me in an instance of doing good, then he had a good reason for it. I was actually talking to my mom on my cell phone when it happened and she didn’t miss a beat when I told her what I was doing. I stopped the car and opened the door for the guy saying, “It’s too hot to run out of gas” to which he replied “And I’m too old to walk!”. I laughed.
I dropped him off at the pump and when he said thanks, I told him it’d be even hotter walking back up the hill so I’d wait for him to fill the tiny gas can; it obviously didn’t take long. I drove him back up the hill to his truck and said good luck. It was all seemingly uneventful.
I went back to Food City with a spring in my step. It feels good to do good things. While I was looking for a nice, guy-friendly, plant, the florist complimented my shoes. “See good karma for doing good, “ I said to myself. As I was checking out with a stack of Lunchables and a self-water plant (really), the guys at the checkout were equally nice and complimentary. Still benefitting from that good deed, I thought. And as I walked out, I was walking on sunshine.
Until I realized that waiting for me outside were some police cars and the frantic, gas station attendant. It would seem that the seemingly nice, out-of-gas guy hadn’t paid for his gas and since I was driving the car, I had just stolen gas. And was on video doing it.
If you’re familiar with Tennessee gas stations, each pump has a menacing picture of a state trooper alerting us that they WILL prosecute any instance of gas stealing. They even take your license. I’ve stared at that image so much while pumping gas.
Today, the finger was pointing directly at me. The attendant kept saying, in broken English, “I kept telling them I couldn’t understand why you came right back to the same place!” I just laughed and said, “Because I didn’t KNOW I was stealing gas!”
Thankfully, the police were nice enough to let me, with the attendant escorting me, go back inside to get money. They didn’t have an ATM, so I had to make another purchase and get cash back. It was $2.01 and the nice lady said not to worry about the penny. I told her, “At this point, I’m AM worried about it and gave her exact change”.
While it wasn’t funny while it was happening, it is now.
And my sick buddy did end up getting a magazine out of the deal.