Local Chevron employees lend a helping hand at the pumpPublished 8:01am Wednesday, August 18, 2010
PHIL CAMPBELL- Back in the olden days full-service gas stations seem to be in high demand, but fast forwarding till now, the customer service world has backed away, with owners keeping their employees indoors and behind the cash register.
The Sibley Oil Chevron located smack in the middle of town sees no reason to forget the past and believes customer satisfaction to be the number one priority.
Chevron manager Doris Kimbrough said her station is the only one in the county that she knows of which offers the full-service pumping.
Kimbrough said most of her elderly customers are greatly appreciative for the service and tell her that they would drive a long way just for the service.
Employee Joshua Smith said he thinks it is funny when people who have never been drive up to the gas pumps.
“I think it is hilarious when you get out there and they look at you like what are you doing,” he said. “It really does freak some people out that we provide that type of customer service.”
Linda Newell, who has been pumping gas for customers for nearly 15 years, believes it is just a great way to get to know people.
“I like working outside most days and talking to everyone while filling up their tanks,” Newell said. “They get to know you and most of the regulars who come through call me by name and say thank you.”
Newell said she has had people in the past to drive up who has never seen a full-service station before and they loved the idea.
“I had one person from out-of-state who stopped here and seemed shocked an employee would actually come outside and pump their gas for them,” she said. “They told me they greatly appreciated it and gave me a $5 tip. I like it when people tip because every little bit counts.”
Newell said she believes the services help out the elderly the most out of everyone.
“Elderly men and women stop here and tell me they greatly appreciate the service,” she said. “We are happy to help those who may have trouble getting in and out of their cars. Sometimes we will actually get a few items in the store for them while hey are here and carry it out for them making it so they won’t even have to leave their vehicle.
“Sometimes we get real busy and we have had people wait on us because they are just not able to get out and pump the gas. We have a lot of people that just trust us so that is how we keep a lot of our local customers coming back.”
Angela Foster said she has been pumping gas for two years and it is amazing many people keeping coming back for that specific reason.
“You do it for the customers to keep their business coming back,” Foster said. “I don’t see it as a big deal if you are helping the people in the community.”
Foster said there are many odd instances and situations that have happened over the years while pumping gas for others, but you tend to laugh it off and go on.
I have had someone to actually drive off while I was pumping gas. They had already paid for their gas, but they just thought I was done sooner than I was and they took off with the pump still in their tank,” Foster said. “Also when you are on the outside pumps you have to watch out when it is raining because a puddle sets up there and when a car flies by you can get soaking wet if you aren’t paying attention.”
Newell said she has had some men to tell her not to worry about it, but she said it is her job and she doesn’t mind going ahead and pumping the gas for them.
“There are men who want to do it themselves and that is fine. We are just here to help you if you want or need it.”
Employees at the Chevron do other things as well like washing windows, stocking shelves inside, sweeping off the parking lot and running the cash register.
Kimbrough said she has no idea if the Chevron will stay full-service forever, but for now her girls will keep helping and pumping gas for those who want it.