Of course the only time I need to get gas is when I'm running late for work. So, I pull into the station, insert my card and start pumping. Shortly, about $10 in (so not quite 3 gallons) the pump stops and tells me that I've reached my limit.
What's going on? I was using my credit card and I pay that sucker off every month! There is no way in hell I reached my limit on that card unless... WTF! Did someone steal my account number?!?!?
I would've stood there longer scratching my head and freaking out but I was running late for work. I was about to get into my card with the intent to call my credit card company once I got to work when the gas station employee starting running up to me asking me to stop. She explained that the gentleman on pump 8 (I was on pump 10) prepaid inside since he was paying with cash. He told her the wrong pump number which is how I ended up with $10 of free gas. She asked if I could lend him my card so he could pay for $10 worth of gas.
Lend a stranger my credit card? Are you freaking insane?! I told her no, but that I would go in and pre-pay $10 worth of gas for him once I finish filling up my car.
I was completely annoyed at the whole situation. I was running late for work and didn't really need this extra thing in the morning. However, as I was driving away I started thinking about the other guy and started to feel really sorry for him.
You have to wonder about a man who can only afford $10 worth of gas. I mean, maybe he left his wallet at home and $10 was all he had. Or, maybe he's poor and $10 is all that he can afford. I tried to imagine how it must feel to be so poor you can't afford a full tank of gas and realized it's a whole new level of poor that I can't relate to.
At work I have worked with people who told me that they would love to pick up an extra shift because they need the money but they can't because they're low on gas and they didn't budget enough for the extra drive. So, if they come in today, that means they don't have enough to get to work later in the week. Sad, yes, but they're teens who live with their parents in their super expensive houses. If absolutely needed I'm sure their parents will float them a few dollars to cover gas. That's different than a grown man who is on his own. It's easy to see how hard it would be for someone to break out of poverty. In order to make more money you need more money- to drive to job interviews, buy appropriate work outfits, drive to pick up more shifts etc.
I'm not about to start spouting liberal view points because I don't even know that my view points are liberal but it annoys me when people say poor people are poor because they're lazy. That may be the case for some, that may be the case for a many, but it's obvious that there are some underlying factors that some of us can't even fathom, or relate to, like not having enough gas money to get to work.
So, let's say that I had just driven off before the gas station lady flagged me down. Let's say that the gas station lady was like, "Sorry buddy, you're out of luck. You told me pump 10, I pressed pump 10. It's your fault and I'm not about to give anyone free gas." What would have happened? Would he have to call out of work because he couldn't make it? Would that have resulted in lost wages because he didn't have any PTO? Would that have cost him to lose more hours in the future because his boss is thinking, "Well, he's not very reliable so I don't want to give him too many hours?" Would his already tight finances just fall apart?
Or, you know, maybe he's well off and he was just a guy who forgot his wallet at home and $10 was all he had on him at the time.