Bruce’s People – The Folks You Meet At The All Night Gas Station
I make no bones about it, I live on the wrong side of the clock compared to most people. My day begins shortly after midnight and if I am lucky I will find my head on a pillow sometime before 10pm. After 30 or so years you finally get used to the hours but you never quite get used to the stories that come from being awake on the dark side of the day.
This morning I am working from one of my two homes. Yes, I have two houses but hopefully for just a few weeks. We are downsizing from a larger house to a smaller house since the kids are growing up and moving on to college. If you know somebody looking for a really nice house with lots of room, let me know.
Despite the fact that I took the day off to finish doing some moving chores here at the house I came into the studios to tie up some loose ends. On my way home I noticed I was low on fuel so I decided to stop at the all night gas station on Ambassador Caffery. I don't usually stop at this particular establishment but every time I do something strange happens.
This morning as I was pumping my gas a gentleman approached me, he was holding an automobile headlight. He asked if I might be interested in acquiring that headlight for the low price of ten dollars. He suggested that if I were to purchase that same headlight at a local retailer I would pay fifteen or twenty dollars and he was willing to pass the savings on to me.
It was then I noticed a vehicle in the parking lot that appeared to be missing a headlight. I am not making any accusations just observations. It was hard to pass up a headlight that did not fit my car and had the wires cut off before the connections but I did.
About a month earlier I had stopped at this same retailer to put fuel in my car again. It was about 3:00 am on a Saturday morning. As I pumped my gas I was approached by a gentleman who was asking about my car. I do drive a different looking car so it's not uncommon for me to get a question or two every now and then.
I guess my answer was more than adequate to him because he invited me over to see his girlfriend's new tattoo. She was in the passenger seat of the vehicle at the pump just in front of me. As she stuck her head out the window to wave it was evident by her smile that the car had more tires than she had teeth. All of the sudden I heard banjo music playing in my mind, like from the movie Deliverance. I declined and explained that I had a bone in my leg and the doctor told me I had to take it easy. Thank goodness my car was full and I was already sliding behind the wheel to leave.
My third experience at this same establishment happened about two months ago. It was early again on a Saturday about 3:00 am, again I needed to get gas. The vehicle parked at the next set of pumps was a pick up truck pulling a trailer with two personal watercraft. I figured they must be heading up to a camp somewhere and wanted to get an early start. It turns out they must have been coming from a camp and were arriving into town late.
A lady ventured from the vehicle carrying an ice chest and she walked over to me and asked me if I liked fish. I told her I didn't have any friends that were fish but basically my position on fish was amicable. I am guessing she didn't understand my choice of words because she had never had fish prepared that way. She then asked if I'd like to buy the fish in her ice chest. She opened the lid and there were some barely alive fish praying for death to take them quickly.
I declined the offer but she persisted that those fish could be mine, along with the ice chest for $15. It was truly a great deal she suggested. When I declined again she dropped the price to $10. Still I declined what was fast becoming the deal of a lifetime. It was then she told me that she and her friends needed gas money to get home.
Call me stupid, call me soft, call me an easy touch, I agreed to take the fish on one condition, that she keep the fish and the ice chest. I told her to wait and I went inside and paid for $20 bucks worth of gas on the pump they were parked next to. They were pumping gas as I cranked up to drive off. Before I could leave the fish lady approached my window and told me thank you. I wished her and her companions well as they made their journey home, or to the next party, or to a nearby field.
You just never know when a random act of strangeness will become a random act of kindness. You just have to keep your eyes open and be willing to hang out at the all night gas station.