Yesterday, I was working at the gas station. The full serve guy did not show up. He's done. That's sad. He was a good worker, I think, but he was sick, and when he called in sick, he was told to find his own replacement. He called people, but no one would work for him. He did not call me. I would have worked for him. Anyway, so he was written up as a no-call, no-show, even though, that wasn't quite factual. Yesterday, however, he was. He simply did not call. He simply didn't show up. I imagine that he decided that he was going to be fired anyway, so simply did not bother to make the trip to the store. It's a mean work environment, that's for sure.
So, anyway, I was pumping gas at the two full serve pumps and waiting on customers, scooting back and forth. It was humid and getting disheartening. At one point, a woman was waiting in line for me to pump her gas. She pulled up and said, "My daughter has taken my card into the store to buy cigarettes." I said, "Okay," and went around to the other side of the pump to wait on the customer there. The woman who had no credit card was outraged that when her daughter returned with her credit card, she still had to wait for me to finish the customer I was waiting on. I came around and took her credit card and ran it through the machine. I asked her how much gas she wanted. Very angrily, she said, "You never asked me!!!" *blink*. "Um. I'm asking you now. How much gas would you like?" And she again complained that I had never asked her. "Ma'am," I said, trying to be patient. "I have a number of customers waiting here. I don't want to argue. I do want you to tell me how much gas you would like me to put in your tank." And she snapped, "Fill it up!" I said "Thank you." Interesting, isn't it? I mean she had this idea how everything was supposed to be done. I deviated from her idea of the right way to do things, and she was mad. I approved her card and asked her how much gas she wanted as I waited for the pump to approve the purchase. She felt that I should have asked that question before I even took her card. I imagine that a lot of people disappoint her.
Later, there was another elderly woman pulled up to the pump. She waited patiently. She told me what she wanted me to do. She wanted exactly 10 gallons of gas. No more, no less. Enough to get a stamp on her card. She also had another card that she wanted to cash in (when you get ten stamps, you can turn it in and get $3. off your tank of gas). So she wanted me to pump $27.49 in to her tank. She gave me $24.50, and the filled punch card worth $3. She wanted a new punch card started. So I carefully pumped exactly what she wanted. I jogged to the store to get her penny and her new card, and I jogged back out to her vehicle. To my surprise, she was standing at the back of her car, waiting. I handed her the penny and her new card and thanked her for her visit, and headed back to the other side of the pump. "Wait," she said, and she handed me $3. I was gobsmacked. "Really, ma'am, that's not necessary." I figured that she was a careful and frugal person, maybe one that had to be. Someone keeping track of all her pennies. A $3 tip seemed very extravagant. "Keep it," I said, "Really..." and she looked at me. "Listen," she said, "I'm old. What do I need this money for? I'm not giving it to my grandchildren, that's for sure. I'm giving my money to the people who do things for me. I'm giving my money to people who know how to work." She was getting emotional. "You people are my people. You people are the people I understand." And she stood there looking at me fiercely, with the $3 in her hand extended at me. I took the money, at a complete loss for words. I took it because it was important to her. She put her penny and her new punch card away and snapped her purse shut. "Thank you," I said, and I gave her a hug, because it just seemed like she'd had a discouraging day. Her arms very quickly went around me, and she patted my back, and whispered 'Thank you.' Then she got into her old car and drove away.
People are an interesting mix, aren't they? I wondered what made the first customer so angry and mean. I wondered what was breaking the elderly woman's heart. Everybody has a story. Everybody in this world has their own story.