I was having a really bad week. Really, truly awful.
Two of the customers I had delivered to cussed me out for no good reason, and although that happens from time to time, this time it got to me. Plus both of them called in formally complained about me. Which was out of left field and completely undeserving. Then my boss Riff chewed me out and told me that he didn't have enough to pay me for the back end of my last three car deliveries. And my teeth hurt terribly, I think I may have an infection, but who has money for a dentist? No dental insurance on my job. It just seemed like the sky was falling on my head, except there were concrete blocks instead of clouds in the sky.
It was noon, and I was getting ready to deliver a car to Odessa, Texas. The landscape was so sparse that it added to my feeling of frustration and depression. I really needed something good to happen real soon to give me a positive shot in the arm.
I had to stop and get gas. Stopped at a little Mom & Pop convenience store called the Gulp & Chew. Tried to use my credit card at the pump, but no luck. So I went inside and stood in a very long line just so I could prepay for gas. We have to deliver all cars with a half tank of gas in them.
The man in line just ahead of me set down a 12 pack of beer. The skinny cashier behind the counter sneered at him and yelled, "Hey dude, its Sunday, you can't buy beer now. Ha Ha!" I watched how much the cashier enjoyed this. He was covered in tatoos, had unkempt facial hair, and had more piercings on his face than I've ever seen before.
I stepped up to him and put down a $20 bill. "Twenty on pump 3," I said.
"What pump?" he asked.
"How much?" he asked.
I held up the $20 bill. "Twenty."
"Which pump," he asked. Now I knew he was messing with me, and I just was not in the mood.
"Twenty dollars prepay on pump 3, please."
I walked out the door as he yelled at me. "Yeah, but on which pump?"
Carefully I pumped the gas, aiming to be judicious and get just enough in the tank to register one half a tank. When I had reached that goal, I stopped the pump. It showed $14.33. So I had to go back inside to get change and a receipt.
Inside, there was another long line to wait in. I noticed that the cashier was being very rude to every customer. When it was my turn, I told him I needed change and receipt for pump 3. He looked at the register, then a machine next to it. "Says here you pumped the entire $20. Next!" he called for the next customer in line.
"No, no, there's a mistake. I gave you $20, but I pumped only $14.33."
"So I need change and receipt."
"Sorry, my info says you pumped the whole $20. Next!"
"No, I'm not done yet. I need my change and a receipt."
"Now you're beginning to really piss me off," he said to me.
"Am I? Well then, why don't you just do your job and I'll be out of your hair."
"Don't tell me my job. We're done here. Next!"
"No! No next! You aren't through serving me. I need change from my $20."
"You spent the $20."
"No sir, I did not."
He leaned towards me, challenging. "Prove it."
"Not a problem, just come on out to the pump with me and you will see that it says $14.33."
"I don't have the time or the interest to come outside."
"Then give me my money."
"You want your stupid damn money. Here!" He slapped a five and a one dollar bill on the counter. I picked them up. "Now get the hell out of here, ya dumb faggot!"
"As soon as you give me a receipt."
This made the gent behind the counter puff up to try to look tough. "Don't you make me come over the counter. I will jump over this counter and kick your ass."
I guess that was the last straw. All I know is that something went "pop" in my head, and I used my hands to propel me up on the counter so that I was leaning in his face. I spoke softly but firmly to him. "Please come over the counter, I'm begging you. And then be prepared to spend two weeks in intensive care at the local hospital, because I will mess you up beyond all recognition."
It was obvious that he was not prepared for this. He felt that he was the king in his little fiefdom, and I was the one person who was standing up to his nonsense. "Geez bro, you don't have to get all bent out of shape. 'Course I'll give you a receipt, no problem." And he did.
I walked out to the pump and found an elderly man who I had seen inside standing there. He looked at me and said, "I saw the whole thing, and he should not have treated you like that. I just took a picture of the pump price displayed with my camera phone. I know the manager, and intend to show it to her when she comes in and tell her what happened. She will deal with him."
"Thanks sir, I really appreciate it."
"Stay safe. And stay cool. Don't let an asshole ruin your day."
He was right. I left feeling better, and said a prayer for safe travels and peace of mind.