Did I miss something while I slept? What has changed in the country? I dropped my son to school this morning and stopped at a gas station near my home to get a hot beverage. The lady in the kitchen greets me and says, ‘long time.’ I told her yes it has been a while, as I work longer hours now and normally when I wake up I head straight in to work. (We are short staffed, so we have to work longer hours). She responded and said that they are short staffed too and so they now close at 10 pm instead of being a 24-hour station. They have gone down from 11 employees to just 4 of them at that station.
Last night on my drive home from my station near the DFW Airport to McKinney, where I live (about a 35-mile distance), I stopped at two gas stations to go inside to make a purchased, they were closed – these are supposed to be 24-hour gas stations. So again, I ask, did I miss something? Where have all the workers gone?
Sometimes, it is good to shop around before getting car repairs done. On Sunday I had to use a mobile mechanic here in Dallas to get my son’s car brakes changed as the brake pads were worn and making noise. The mechanic came by and fixed the problem. I was thankful. So, I casually asked them about the cost of changing my pads as I am on vacation in October and still trying to decide if I want to take the 1300-mile drive to Beltsville, for a few days (typically takes me 18 hours to drive the 1330 miles – alone).
Normally I buy the brake pads at AutoZone for $40 and my guy charges me $30 to change them. Mobile mechanic decided it will cost me $179 for parts and labor. I told them I will be in touch. See how people lose business? Why will I pay double the cost to change brake pads, in a Nissan? So, see why Felix gets my business? He does not charge me much for the work. I love a fair deal.
Well, the world is a small place. Some weeks ago, I baked some cakes and took samples to a store in Plano that will eventually start selling my cakes – yes, I bake. I had excess samples so took some to work. I gave one to a colleague of mine who I get along with. He enjoyed the cake so much, that he ordered some for a couple event he and his wife would be hosting two weeks later. On the said, day, I baked the cakes and took them 18 miles away to Princeton, where he lives. I pulled up to the address and exited my car and walked up to the door to deliver the cakes.
I rang the doorbell, expecting to see Marion, my colleague. Instead, somebody else opened the door and as I greeted him and stated my reason for being there, I noticed a man standing next to him with his mouth open as if he had just seen a ghost. So, I turned my gaze on him and to my surprise, it was Julius, my former Manager at work in Baltimore. He had transferred from Baltimore to Dallas in 2018 and we had never seen since then. I knew he was in Dallas at another station, but our chances of bumping into each other were as good as buying a lottery ticket and winning the jackpot. The unplanned reunion was a nice surprise and then Marion who ordered the cakes, was stunned that his best friend and I knew each other (they have been buddies since High School and all of us are closer to 55 years than we are to 20 years). Then the conversation shifted to my work route in Baltimore and then the stories started to pop up. For 13 years, I had one of the most dangerous delivery routes in Baltimore. I was in West Baltimore -- where life happens. I can write a book on all I have seen. If you have watched The Wire, that was my route. Seen it all, car and helicopter chases, dead bodies, drugs, crackheads, robbery attempts, tires being slashed, school delinquents and a lot more. So, folks, life is short, and this is a small world. Be nice to everyone as you NEVER know where you will meet someone that you know.
Next month, I will share some of my work stories from Baltimore with you --- have a blessed day and thanks for reading.