Clerk pays for customer's gas - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Clerk pays for customer's gas

May 18, 2007

Leesburg --  With gas prices so high, many people are scraping their pennies together just to fill up their tanks.  One man even tried to barter with a store cashier, offering to trade the tools he uses to make a living for gas.  The clerk couldn't make that deal. 

Nicole Hobbs is busy getting ready for the lunch crowd at Express Lane in Leesburg. She's got a lot of customers, some of whom are having a hard time getting by these days. "Times are hard right now and he didn't have the money," she said.

The "he"  she's referring to is a regular customer.  One who needed to get to work this morning, but was out of gas, and out of money.

"He come in with this bag of stuff and I think it was a flashlight and a couple of tools and stuff and just whatever he could ponder up and said I'll give you my license.  I need some gas, can you get me some gas?"

Nicole had to say no to the man.  She simply couldn't accept the tools he used everyday as payment, so she said this. "I said, ‘you can keep your stuff, we can get you your gas, don't worry about it.'"

$10 from her own earnings.  She said it's really just a way to pay him back for his business.

"That $10 couldn't compare to the money he's spent in here before.  So, really if I think about it, it's just thanking him for everything he's done for us.  You have to pay it forward."

Gina Brown is the store manager.  She's not surprised by Nicole's action.  It's part of the family atmosphere at the store.

"We get compensated in the long run, just by the way they treat us,"  said Brown. "You have to return the favor.  Otherwise, what would the world be?"

And although she can't by everyone $10 of gas, she wants to treat them all like family, and knows they'll continue to pay it forward.

"The people that come here are really good customers.  I know if I needed something, I could get it," Hobbs said.

But as long as she can, she'll continue to give of herself. 

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