No really. I meant it. "Good news" and "gas station" in the same sentence. What good news can be coming from a gas station today? Prices are flirting with $4/gallon. Facebook is abuzz with warnings that thieves may steal your purse from the front seat while you are at the pump. And despite what my husband says, gas station food -- GROSS. But I'm here to deliver a bit of good gas news.
Tonight after Charlie's soccer practice, I had to get gas in the car; the handy dashboard computer was reading FUEL RANGE: 0 miles. So I pulled in to a Circle K station, swiped my debit card and selected the "Regular" gas, selling for $3.48/gallon. The pump screen instructed me to lift the nozzle and begin pumping the gas. So that's what I did. Only nothing happened. As I waited, another driver came out of the gas station and told me that the station was out of regular gas.
I hit "cancel" on the pump and contemplated paying the higher price for the "Plus" gas. But then I noticed another gas station across the street and decided to go there to get the cheaper fuel. It took me just a minute to drive across the street and pull up to the pump of the Whitestown Marathon.
I got out of the car, swiped my card, and got ready to pump the gas. I looked up to see "Please See Cashier" flash at me on the screen. Frustrated, I went into the station where they told me my card had been declined.
"Ugh...I know what it is, I just tried to get gas across the street and they must have placed a big hold on my account."
The clerk very nicely suggested that I call the 1-800 number on the back of my card to ask my back to release the hold. So I headed back to the car to make the call...which would have been simple, if Robbie hadn't killed the battery on my phone playing "Wipeout." I should be given a gold medal for not flipping out at this point. Instead, I just took the phone back and plugged it in, pulled into a parking spot, and waited for the phone to charge. About 6 minutes later (it was REALLY dead), I was on the line with my bank and feeling cranky.
After answering 72 security questions, the guy from the bank confirmed that I did indeed have sufficient funds and that there were now no holds on my card. Awesome.
So I pulled back up to the pump, swiped my card, and "Please See Cashier" appeared in front of me again.
Seriously? So, I went back inside the gas station, presented my card again and waited while the cashier swiped it again, using it as a debit card. Declined. So he ran it as credit. Declined.
At this point, I was frustrated and embarrassed and just ready to go home. "I just got off the phone with the bank," I told him in what I'm sure sounded like a big fat lie (but it wasn't). "He said there were no holds on the account and there are funds in the account."
"I have zero gas and no cash," I continued, already thinking about the earful I was going to give the bank when I got back in the car.
Here's the good part. A lady came up behind the counter and asked how far I needed to go. I told her just about 5 miles. She said to the cashier, "Give her $10; that should get her home." Then she turned to me and said, "I'm the manager here. We'll take care of you." She took $10 out of her own purse, handed it to the cashier and said "Pay it back when you can or pay it forward."
I know it sounds completely cheesy to say this, but I left the Whitestown Marathon feeling happy to know that there are good, kind people in this world. So, if you find yourself in need of gas near Exit 130 on I-65 North, please think about stopping at the Whitestown Marathon. Tell Tammy that the 4th Frog sent you.