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I usually buy my gas at the same station and have been doing so for over 4 years. They are the cheapest around and the service is quick. They also sell propane tanks for gas barbecue grills so I get mine there as well. It's a couple of dollars more but I'm familiar with these guys and it's close and convenient. I usually run out in the middle of cooking dinner so it's a quick and easy ride up the main road. I've gotten to know some of the guys who work there even though I'm not sure what country they are from. Someone told me they were from Iran and someone else said India. It didn't really matter to me - or so I thought.
Several months ago they changed personnel. I was a little disappointed but didn't know who the new guys were. Because I don't cook outside in the winter, I recently took two empty propane tanks back to them to get my deposits back. The man I gave them to wasn't happy when I told him I wasn't refilling them. In broken English he told me he'd have to call the manager to ask what to do. I was getting annoyed. He hung up the phone and told me that he couldn't give me the full deposit of $10 per tank, only $15 for the two. I explained that I bought them there but he wouldn't hear of it. The boss told him $15 and that was it.
I got very upset but didn't say anything because I didn't want to cause a scene. So I took the $15 and drove away vowing NEVER to go there again. Plus, I rationalized (rational lies), I could possibly be funding terrorism by buying my gas there which was even more of an incentive to never go back. I was HOT. For the next several months I shopped at other local stations. I paid more for gas but I didn't care. I wasn't going back there.
As the saying goes, time began to heal my wounds. Plus money was getting tight and most of the other stations were 8-10 cents more per gallon and they were out of the way. It was adding up because with 9 kids I do a lot of driving. And I felt ridiculous driving right by there to go two miles down the road for more expensive gas because I was upset about not getting $5 from the propane tanks I returned. So I decided to go back.
My first time back I was running late to somewhere and only wanted to put $10 in the tank so I stopped there. The new guys who had taken over were there, including the one I had the issue with. He didn't serve me but I was cordial to him and with the man who put the gas in my car. I felt good about saving the money and they were cordial so I was ok with it all.
A few days ago I stopped there and the man who usually serves me came up to my window and started talking to me. He pointed to my speedometer and said, "I want that." And I pointed and said, "You want that?" He pointed and said, "No, that." "I don't understand what you're saying," I said. Then he reached into my car and touched the Rosary beads that were hanging from a handle grip near my window. "This," he said. "Oh! Well you can't have these because my wife made them. But would you like me to bring you one?" "Yes! I love them!"
So on Sunday, after Mass, I went in to get gas and I gave him another pair that I had with a brochure on how to pray the Rosary. He had a great big smile on his face and folded his hands in prayer. He kept bowing and saying, "Thank you, thank you. I love her! Every Sunday I pray. Thank you."
I was struck with amazement. I felt guilty for accusing them because of the way they looked and spoke, but more for almost missing out on being a messenger for God and passing on one of the most beautiful traditions and devotions we have as Catholics - the Holy Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary. I am just so pleased because I've increased my devotion to the Blessed Mother these past several months and through this incident she has shown me that she acknowledges that. Thank you Mary!
Dear Lord, help me not to judge others regardless of their race, nationality, or social status. Instill in me the realization that I should stay open to you and pass on the beautiful and true aspects of our faith to anyone who wants to receive them. Amen.
(Special Note: After this incident I never saw that man again at the gas station. It's amazing to me how God puts people into your path. I'm glad I acted on what the Holy Spirit was nudging me to do. )