Fill'er Up

Reprinted from PN/Paraplegia News June 2018

A simple phone number on a sticker is making it easier for Florida motorists with disabilities to get help filling up their gas tanks.

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Ben Ritter insists he has never met a grumpy gas station attendant. That’s saying something, since he meets those gas station attendants in a way that many people don’t. He meets them at the pump.

“They’re happy to come out and get a little fresh air and exercise,” Ritter says. “They’re very, very courteous.”

In an era of self-service at every turn, from the grocery store checkout to movie rentals to soda machines, the Tampa, Fla., area resident relies on an old-school practice that has been nearly universally replaced throughout the country but adopted again in select circumstances throughout the Sunshine State. Unlike the vast majority of the population, Ritter watches from the driver’s seat of his car as an attendant pumps his gas. The full-service gas station of yesteryear became endangered in the wake of the fuel crisis in the 1970s and eventually transitioned to the pay-at-the-pump version to which every driver has become accustomed. But the transition to an exclusively self-service concept created a new challenge for drivers like Ritter.


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