My Small-Town Valentines Day Story

Feb 14, 2009

Valentine’s Day in a Small Town



I'm driving home from DC after an exhausting but rewarding class and am in the home stretch of my 8 hour trek when I realize that I haven't been paying attention to the gas gauge and I'm WAY beyond empty in the middle of nowhere.  I take the next exit and follow the road in search of a gas station that never seems to appear.  Worrying that my fumes won't last much longer, I pull into the first shop I see - a tiny two-pump stop and go in a town not much bigger than a hiccup.  There's no open sign, but lights are on so I drive up to the front door and ask if it's too late to get gas.


The attendant eyes me up and down and says, "No, it ain't too late.  What you want?"


"Twenty dollars?"


"No, what you want - reg'lar or premium."


"Regular's fine.  Thanks very much."


He directs me to the pump on the right and I quickly put my car in position and gleefully begin pumping.  I'm excited that I'm not going to be stuck here, I'm not going to have to call AAA to save me, and that I'm less than an hour away from my own bed.


The attendant comes out to the pump with a pen and paper in hand with the pretense that he's copying information from the pump.    "I haven't seen you in here before - do you live around here?"


"I don't" I admitted, "I'm just heading home to Charlotte."


He nods.  "Driving long?"


"Coming back from a week in DC for work."


He nods again.  "What kind of car is that?


"Honda Del Sol - it gets great mileage.  I love this car!"



"So, are you single?"


I just laughed - it was so cute and so flattering.  Hey, I have to admit - the guy was CUTE.  Absolutely made my day.  "I've got to hit the road - I'm seriously tired.  But I'll see you next time through."  I get into the car and he keeps talking - so I jump back out.  "Sorry?  I didn't catch that."


He repeats, "If you're heading back to the highway, don't go that way.  Much faster to turn left there.  It'll save you some time."


"Hey thanks!  See you next time - have a great Valentines Day!"


I get back in the car and turn left - I'm anxious to get home, but mostly I don't want to appear rude.  I go LESS than two blocks and there's a road block.  Six police cars with lights on stopping traffic.  I think there must be an accident, maybe I should turn around and head back down the main road - but when the guy behind me does that, one of the cops jumps in their squad car and chases him down.  Oh dear.


I wait for several minutes - probably about 8 - and they wave me forward and ask for my drivers license, insurance and registration.  I handed them over and the officer moves to the back of my car and starts writing something.  CRAP!  I forgot to put the new sticker on - it's still stuck to the registration I gave him and now he's writing me a ticket!  BAH!


After an eternity, he comes back over to my window and hands me back the paperwork and my license.  "I put the new sticker on your plate, ma'am.  That's a surefire way to get pulled over for a stop."  Relived, I flash him a BIG grin and thank him sincerely.  I'd been meaning to do that since....well...last July.


"My brother at the Gas N' Go would like to know if he can have your number."


I burst into laughter - I didn't mean to, it was just such a surreal moment - I really couldn't help it.  "I'm so flattered."  I said.  "And your brother is extremely cute - but I've got a fella."  (Don't ask - I have no idea what I used that word.  I think it was the whole Andy Griffith atmosphere of this town.)


"All right then.  You're free to go." and he waves his flashlight indicating it's time for me to drive on.  I put the car back into gear and with the goofiest grin you can have with your mouth hanging half open in amazement I drive on. 

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Charlotte, NC
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Jul 24, 2007
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