What's The Diff?

The things Quicken Loans team members care about and want to share with the world

The Detroit Gas Fairy Coughs Up a Fin

By Rebecca Carter

On my way to work at my new job, I realized I was very low on gas. Normally, I would’ve had enough to make it in. But this particular morning I was going to a distant suburb of Detroit for a special training session — probably an hour-and-a-half from my house — and the needle was moving dangerously close to empty. I still had another half hour to go. I wasn’t going to have enough fuel to make it all the way.

At this point I was in unfamiliar territory, in Detroit proper (I’m not from Michigan). Stopping at the next exit, I pulled into the only gas station in sight, and fished in my backpack for my wallet. Panic rose into my chest as I realized I didn’t have my wallet OR my cell phone! I remembered too late: the evening before I had gone to a movie with a friend and had taken my wallet and cell phone from my “work bag” to switch to a more casual purse.

Great. On empty, No wallet. No cell phone. In a city where I knew no one.

Luckily, my checkbook was in my work bag, so I held out hope I could convince the attendant to take my check without identification. The attendant was sympathetic, but said the station didn’t take checks. There were no other gas stations at this exit.

I scrounged around my car and found $1.50 in change – enough for ALMOST half a gallon. Probably not even enough to get me to my destination. But better than nothing.

After giving the attendant my change, I went to the bathroom, cursing my own forgetfulness and the high price of gas. When I came out she informed me someone in the station store overheard me and put $5 toward my purchase. I’d seen a woman at the ATM earlier. Without even knowing me, she’d given $5 toward solving my dilemma. I ran out of the store to thank this mystery person, but she was driving off, with a wave.

This simple act of generosity made a huge difference in my day. And gave me a very favorable impression of Detroiters. I wish there was some way I could convey my gratitude to this individual, who didn’t even wait to receive a thanks. She’ll never know that this was one of my first interactions with people of Detroit, and thus made a very strong first impression as an ambassador of her city.

I figure the best way to give thanks would be to pass on such selfless kindnesses to the people who come into my own radar. To strive to live a “pay it forward” philosophy. To be mindful of how simple acts can make a huge difference to those in need around me.

These were my thoughts that morning, filled with gratitude at the difference her gift made to my day. I was able to travel without further incident to my work obligation — $6.50 worth of precious gasoline in my tank. It was even enough to get me within ten blocks of my house that evening, before running completely out of fuel (another story).

Post Metadata

Social Bookmarking

AddThis Button


  1. Welcome to Detroit and I’m glad you had a great first impression!

    Posted by: I<3DETROIT | July 30, 2007
  2. You were very lucky, very lucky indeed. I would not have given you the money, I probably would have thought you were a begger and yes, I live in Detroit.

    Posted by: Billy Leopardskinhousen | July 31, 2007
  3. Detroit isn’t all bad like everyone thinks. It’s stories like this that make me proud to be a Detroiter.

    Posted by: detroit love | July 31, 2007

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Secondary Navigation:

Promotional Information:

Partner Links:
Site Feeds:
Today's Date:
Sunday, March 18, 2018