All vehicles come conveniently equipped with a “low fuel” warning light and alarm, giving the driver several miles in which to find a petrol station and fill up. That being said, I never had much sympathy for people who run out of gasoline (Brent included). My low fuel light came on the day before yesterday, and I continued to drive several miles after that. Yesterday the girls wanted to play on the playground at Skye’s school and I thought “I’ll just fill up the tank after that.” I would be driving around locally, and I felt pretty safe and invincible.
I had to stop by Renys, a Maine department store. It was on the way to the gas station, so naturally it made sense to stop there first. Just after I pulled into the parking lot the Jetta’s engine sputtered and died–right in the aisle. I left the girls in the car and ran into Renys, hoping they sold gas cans. Skye called me from her phone to ask if she could take the girls over to the grocery store to get a drink of water. I told her I would be out soon and to stay in the car.
I asked the store clerk if they sold gas cans and explained to him my predicament. He kindly directed me to the back of store where I selected a 1-gallon sized can. Skye called me again as I was checking out. I answered the phone with “I’m on my way out, Skye.” She replied, “Mommy, there’s a policeman out here.” Oh great! Not only did I run out of gas, but now I’m going to get in trouble for leaving my kids in the car alone and for partially blocking the parking lot aisle.(My past experiences with law enforcement officials have not been positive.) The police officer was very kind and helpful, however. He said “You’re lucky there’s a gas station right on the corner” and offered to wait by my car while I went to fill up the gas can. My trek from the car to the gas can was a whole 490 feet! Brent told me later that he would have just pushed the car to the station. Yeah, thanks Mister Helpful! :-)
I felt a little awkward approaching the gas pump without a vehicle, and wondered if I should be wearing a hat and dark sunglasses. Fifteen seconds and $2.49 later I was headed back to my car. The police officer waited to make sure I had an adequate amount of fuel and that I would be able to start my car.
And now, for those of you who have had the unfortunate and embarrassing experience of running out of gasoline: I empathize.