I noticed the gas gauge nearing the big “E” while driving home the other night. Mr. Porter’s words echoed in my head, “You don’t want to run out of gas when it’s this cold out. You could die.” Well, he probably said it nicer than that, but I do tend to wait until the last minute on things like getting my hair cut or stopping off for gas, but I had cash on me and figured I better get gas before I buy something else.
Since I was paying with cash rather than credit, I had to go into the little store at the gas station and pay the clerk directly. I walked in and flashed him a smile and said, “Fifteen dollars on pump one, please. And could I get a receipt?” The man behind the counter was kind of hunched over and did not return my smile, but instead asked me, “Would you like to buy a misprinted lottery ticket?”
My BS-detector went into full force. “What do you mean?”
“I printed out a ticket for someone. He knew better. He paid for his gas with a credit card. He was a businessman. He knows he can’t pay for a lottery ticket with a credit card. He knew better.” His shoulders slumped again.
I handed him a $20 and he gave me back $5. “How much is it? If it’s a dollar or two I might get it.”
“Well, sorry, I can’t,” I said as I lifted up the $5 bill. It was all I had.
“That’s ok.” He looked down. “I’ll just keep asking everyone that comes in.”
I went outside and pumped my gas in the freezing temperatures thinking yeah, I really don’t want to break down in this weather.
I thought about the clerk inside. Here he was probably making minimum wage, and now his cash drawer is going to be six dollars short. He will get in trouble, he might even get fired.
I rummaged through my purse and found a dollar’s worth of quarters. I finished pumping my gas, and triumphantly went back into the store.
“I found a dollar, I’ll take the lottery ticket.”
“You don’t have to.”
“Everything happens for a reason,” I told him.
We checked the numbers last night, and no, we didn’t win. But I felt good that I helped someone out — even if it was in a very strange way.
Who knows if I saved the poor guy from getting fired?
** Update: For some odd (dumb?) reason, I neglected to tell you that I also gave the gas station attendant a Gospel of John. I told him again, everything happens for a reason.