By memory, I returned to one of the last full-service gas stations* in Austin. Maybe one of the last in America. Needed some power steering fluid.
As I lowered the window, an old man stuck his hand in to shake my hand.
“How can I help you, mister?”
A simple question. But it came out of the misty past. Nowadays, you pull into a sterile self-serve and puzzle over the instructions while trying to tune out the piped in advertising messages. Cussing.
“How can I help you mister?”
As he filled the tank, checked the fluids and observed my Minnesota license plates, I got to know Leroy a little bit. Not by what he said – but by what he asked.
“You retired? What did you do before you retired? How old are you? Seventy? You are blessed, Mister.”
Leroy, who is 71 and still working, paused for a minute to remember former congressman Jake Pickle with me. “He was a good man.”
I think Leroy is a good man, too. He prides himself on taking care of business. And on taking care of his customers.
I paid a little more for the gasoline. And he never did get around to cleaning the windows. But I left the service station a happier man. Maybe even a blessed man.
All because of Leroy.
*M.E. “Gene” Johnson Station and Garage, 4801 Airport Blvd. Austin, Tx.