A couple of years ago, I ran into an old University friend that I hadn’t seen since we graduated and we agreed to organize a get together. So one spring Sunday morning I loaded my two young girls into the car as we headed off to her place on the other side of Toronto.
As I settled myself into the driver’s seat I noticed that I was low on gas and drove to the nearest gas station in our neighborhood. I pulled in, swiped my credit card, selected regular gas, and as I filled the gas tank I remember playing peek-a-boo with my girls and thinking if anyone was watching I would look quite silly. After filling up, I closed the gas tank and off we went.
Meanwhile, my husband decided to go out for a bike ride while we were away and as he headed down our street, he cycled past a police car coming his way and of course was curious to know where they were going, as it was unusual to see police in our neighborhood but quickly put his curiosity at bay and cycled onward.
I made it to my friend’s house safe and sound and had a great visit. At the end of the afternoon, I loaded the girls back into the car and then checked my cell phone only to see that my husband had tried to call me several times, guilt immediately came into play as I wondered what might have happened to him. I started out for home and called him en route.
When I reached him, I asked “how his afternoon went?” and he said “great but interesting.” Of course curious, I probed him for more.
He said when he returned home from a really good bike ride, our retired neighbor from across the street came over very concerned and asked if everything was okay?
The neighbor proceeded to tell him there was a police car parked in our drive way for some time and two officers were going around the house peering into all the windows of the home. Of course this was strange on so many different levels and my neighbor was quite concerned that we experienced a burglary or something else.
So this explained why my husband passed the police car as he headed out for his ride but never even thought it could relate to me as it was too close in timing from when I just left. Intrigued to say the least, he phoned the local police station to inquire and was well prepared and ready to tell them they had the wrong house when they told him they had no record of anyone being dispatched and could offer no further information.
No sooner had he hung up the phone when the doorbell rang and there stood before him were two police officers. They asked whether I lived there and whether I owned a silver Honda Civic?
He said “yes and yes” of course wondered where this was going.
They then asked “where was I and the vehicle?”
He said “I was at a friend’s house with our girls.”
They then proceeded to tell him that they have me on footage at the gas station filling the car up with gas and then leaving without paying.
Now it just so happens that in the greater Toronto area at this time there were a couple of recent incidences that involved people filling up with gas and taking off without paying, in protest of the high gas prices. It also didn’t help that one of these situations involved the driver killing the attendant as he fled the gas station. So let’s just say they take this stuff very seriously.
Of course my husband told them here had to be a mistake.
They did say the video surveillance shows that it looked like I swiped my credit card but the transaction did not go through and admitted that based on what they saw, it was unlikely this was an intentional act and were not going to issue a warrant for my arrest.
All I could say was OH MY GOD! I have been filling up at this gas station for years and in fact I thought you couldn’t even get any gas anymore unless you prepay in person, or use your Debit or Credit card. So how did I manage to fill up and not pay????
My husband then asked me “did you not get a receipt?”
I said “No” as I rarely get a receipt now a days for we just throw them out anyways and now they give you the option of getting one or not. I was trying to recall the sequence of events while filling up, all I remembered was that I swiped my credit card and selected the gas type and then proceeded to pump without any issues.
My husband wasn’t mad at me but was rather interested or shall I say amused as to how this scenario was going to play out for me.
The next step was for me to phone the credit card company once I got home to see if this transaction went through. When I did phone, the credit card company didn’t have any gas-related transactions entered for that day and I sat there dumb founded.
I then phoned the police a little nervously and asked them what I was supposed to do now, given that this was definitely a mistake and the payment was still outstanding.
They said I had to go make amends with the gas station. So off I went to the local gas station with my credit card in hand, ready to pay up. The attendant was a little taken back that I was there without the police and I said the police knew I was coming here and all I need to do is to pay what I owed. I explained that I thought I had paid and didn’t realize it did not go through and questioned how I was able to release the gas without paying in advance.
They cautiously accepted my payment and then proceeded to tell me how to pump gas as if I was new to this world of service. I calmly told them I have been doing this for 20 years and have never had an issue before now but then bit my tongue and told them I would be more careful next time.
Ever since whenever I fill up with gas, I get a receipt, NO MATTER WHAT. Do you?