Forgotten-Lunch, and $1.50 worth of Amoco-Gasoline

It was winter during the early 1980’s; the wind chill in the Chicago area is double digits degrees below Zero. I am about to walk
out of the my door to go to work, and today is payday , but this morning I have only $ 1.50 to my name, no savings anywhere,
just $1.50. As I am opening the door to enter my garage, I notice my son Oliver had left his lunch on the kitchen counter. I pick
up the lunch bag and decide to take the lunch to him at his school which is about  three  miles away.  I start my car, which
starts immediately and I am happy about that.  Then I notice  the gas  gage is about one pencil line to the right side of the  “E” .
I have to drive about three miles in the opposite direction of Oliver’s school to get to work; this will add about six miles to
make my drive of about 23 miles from Romeoville Illinois to Oak Brook Illinois. I am working as a shoe sales person for
Neiman Marcus department store in Oak Brook. I know my gasoline gage, so I have just enough gasoline to get to work. That
is, if I do not drive the 6 miles round trip to take Oliver’s lunch to school. I decide to take his lunch to school.

Sure enough, after the 6 miles round trip to his school, plus an additional six miles toward Oak Brook IL, the gasoline gage is
now a thin pencil line to the left side of the “E”. I look to the right of me on Kingery road (Rt 83) just north of I in Willowbrook ,
and there is an “Amoco” service station. In the early 1980’s the gasoline station attendant  still  pumped the gasoline into your
car while you sat comfortable in your car. Gasoline had jumped from $ 0.35 per gallon in 1969 to $ 0.60 cent  in 1976 to about
$1.35 cent in 1980 -81 (I seem to remember $1.59 at that pump, but I could be wrong).

Remember, the wind-chill is double digits below zero. I crack the door, because the window on the driver's side would not
open, and I said smiling to the gas station attendant, who was going to fuel my car, "$1.50 please". He sort of blinked in
disbelief asking,” How far you going”?  As he was noticing the gas hand was on "E", I said, “just to Oak Brook; $ 1.50 will be
plenty”. He was trying to keep a straight face.  After all, with a wind Chill of double digits degrees below Zero, we are told to
keep our auto gasoline tanks, at least, half full during the Chicago cold winters. He sized me up in a glance, not in a negative
way. I was dressed like “Neiman Marcus”, after all I had not, always been down on my luck. I had made a choices that, for me,
meant going backward in order to move forward in  the direction that I wanted to go, so I did not feel sorry for myself in the
least.

I was doing what I had to do under the circumstances, and I knew my current circumstances would not last forever. It seemed
like I was outside my body viewing this as the life of someone else. I was not unhappy at all. I always shopped quality, using
outlet stores, with and without a Neiman Marcus shopping budget. In the early 1980’s, “Dress Causal” was not acceptable in
most white collar jobs. I looked nice, I was smiling, and from the first glance, my little car did not look like an “Old Beater Car”.

The gas station attendant knew that I did not fit the description of someone driving in double digits degrees below Zero
weather, with only $1.50 to spend for gasoline. He was "still" trying to keep a straight face,  while, rendering the "Old
fashioned" good services of cleaning the windows, and pumping the gasoline into my car. However, I could see him sort of
slightly shaking his head as he worked in disbelief, as if he was thinking, this lady has got to be crazy. When he finished, he
came around to the window on the driver side of my car. As I was trying to pass  to him the $ 1.50, he  noticed the front door  
was not totally closed. Before I could give him the $1.50 and  explain, he had given the door a couple of fast hard  pushes
trying to close it tightly.    I said, still smiling ,” it won’t close, that’s as closed as it can get” pointing  to the coat hanger hook
inside. With that, he couldn't control his smile of disbelief. He had this big smile while shaking his head refusing to take the
$1.50, and said “I put $ 5.00 worth of gasoline in your car. If you ever come back this way you can pay it”. I started to say
something,  and he signaled as if to  say” Its okay, no more words please. In that state he walked away, waving me and my
Frigidaire-car on our way;

Now that I am divorced, I am experiencing my first very-used car; however, I have my standards; the car has no rust or dents,
and it has a very good paint job, even though in addition to coat hanger hook, the window not rolling down and based on the
sound, it appears to be missing a muffler and the heater does not work, I do not remember being cold. God had to be carrying
me…..

I got paid and delivered the $5.00 and a thank you note to the station that night after work.
To this day, it amazes me that the event centered on the $1.50 worth of gasoline was planting the seed of my going into the oil
business  10 years later.  While I was sitting comfortably in my car as the service station attendant was pumping $ 5.00 worth
of gasoline into it, there was a big Amoco gasoline delivery truck pumping fuel into the Amoco station’s underground tanks. I
smiled thinking about the one gallon of gasoline that I was buying, compared to the number of gallons of fuel the delivery tank
transported. I  also, remember thinking, “that looks like an interesting business”.  That was the first time that I had really paid
any attention to “Amoco” over any other auto fueling service station.  Additionally, little did I know that: the ability to
disconnect my mind from unpleasant circumstances, that I never imagine happening to "Me", while in pursuit of that which
physically represented "Me," would become the key to my success in the years to come. I know that is a very-long-sentence,
but it says a lot more than one could ever imagine................
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