Hess Trucks and Roller Skates

I got a job working at a Hess gas station on Staten Island once I got situated at my sister Gracie’s apartment in New York City on the upper East side. It was a hike between taking two trains, a Ferry ride to Staten Island and then a 20 minute ride on the bus and it took me almost two hours every day for my afternoon shift…and I always late.

It got to the point that the manager asked me if I wanted to work the weekday midnight shift instead… I didn’t even hesitate to say no. In between my days off at the gas station, I was also working as a skate guard for a rolling skating rink called Skate Odyssey just ten minutes down the road.

What was great working there was that I had a girlfriend for every session  I worked and ate for free at the snack counter. The guys were great and the girls working there were all prettier than the next. At seventeen with money in my pocket and a few girlfriends to hang with…who had it better than me?

It’s the Christmas season and as always Hess started their promotion for the infamous Hess trucks, so we were stocked up inside the lobby. Between pumping gas and selling the trucks, one can get distracted. What I mean by that is this…the public was ripping me off as I was pumping gas.

It’s after midnight now, so you have to remember that I was working alone. This is what they would do to me. They pull up and tell me to fill up and ask me where the bathroom was. I point to them the direction inside the lobby and continue to pump gas to at least two or three cars at a time.

I would never see them take any of them or walk out with them to pay me, but did noticed that trucks were missing when I would return inside to warm up. I had to figure out a way to make up for the missing trucks because in the morning, I had count how many were sold and the money needed to match.

So I rigged up the gas pumps. Back in the day, the old pumps were easy to do that. When I put back the nozzle I never lifted the lever and the pump was never turned off. So if you asked for 5 dollars and left, I would start from that when the next driver said to fill up. This was the coolest thing I thought of and I never got caught.

I would distract the drivers by asking if they wanted me to check their oil or wipe their windshield than walk back to the pump and actually start pumping their gas. This was my way to make up the difference if any trucks went missing and nothing ever came out of my paycheck…till one night I decided to shut down a 24 hour franchise and walk across the street to get coffee.





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