Who’s The Fool?
January 21, 2008

(Note: This story was written and submitted for publication in the Chicken Soup For The Soul’s ‘Life’s Most Embarrassing Moments’)


I used to live in a small town named, Howe, Texas. Just about 50 miles due north of Dallas. I worked as a commercial construction project manager for a company in the nearby town of Sherman.

It was one very cold December morning, just before dawn that I pulled into the corner Exxon station to fill up my pickup truck’s tank with gasoline. I was barely awake when I got out and placed the gas dispenser into the tank.

I’ve always been a bit impatient and decided to go ahead and go inside, where it was warm, while the pump continued to fill the tank.

After the tank was filled and the pump had clicked off, I paid for the gas and went back out and got into my truck. As I started to pull away, the engine of my truck died. I immediately wrote it off as being the very tight clutch on my standard transmission.

There were a half a dozen or more teenagers standing there laughing at me. I thought that a bit odd and rude but more or less smiled back at them, restarted my truck, accelerated a little more than normal and drove away.

As I drove down the road, I started defending my tight clutch on my truck as I was dealing with just having been laughed at by a group of teenagers. I went down the list of reasoning why they were so amused at my truck dying. I basically blew it off to foolish kids in a small town who were somewhat cruel to an older guy in an old truck that didn’t run too well.

I proceeded onto the freeway and drove about 3-4 more miles, headed for my job in Sherman. Much to my surprise, a car pulls alongside me and and the man inside begins to feverishly honk his horn at me. I gave him a look that basically said, “Now what does this idiot want?”

He was pointing at the side of my truck and at that moment, I looked into my outside rear-view mirror and notice the gas hose and dispenser still in my tank as if I were still pumping gas into my truck. Suddenly I realized who had been the fool and the idiot. I stopped and took the dispenser out of my gas tank, drove back to the gas station and carried it inside.

A dozen or more farmers were waiting inside, each one hysterically laughing at me as I handed the hose and dispenser to the clerk and said, “I think this belongs to you.” She was quite gracious and said asked for my name and address so they could send me the $50 bill to repair their gas pump. All that was left for me to do was to join in the hysterical laughter of the farmers and teenagers.