Greg Smith Keynote Speaker

Leadership Expert on Resiliency and Inner Strength – Greg helps leaders and teams “Go Full-Strength!” for maximum productivity.

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The Fillin’ Station Blues

Gettin’ Gas is a Pain in the A_ _!

Up until about 1995, there used to be this thing called “full-service” at gas stations.  You could just pull up to the pump and somebody would come out of the gas station, pump your gas, check your oil and clean your windshield.  You had to pay a little bit more for it but it was available.  It was a mixed bag for those of us with disabilities, because we needed help getting gas, but didn’t want to have to pay more each time we filled up.  That’s where the Americans with Disabilities Act came to the rescue.  It said, basically, if you have a disabled placard or license plate and you need “full-service,” you can get it at “self-service” prices.  All you gotta do is blow your horn and somebody will come out.

That inspired one of two “On A Roll Radio” radio blues song hits, “The Fillin’ Station Blues.”   (Tragedy these tapes were lost in Katrina!)

 You pull up to the fillin’ station

Cause your tank is gettin’ kinda low

Yeah you pull up to the fillin’ station

Yeah you gettin mighty low.

You need full service in the self serve

So you give ya horn a blow!


Folks look at you like ya crazy

Like “Mister, what the hell is wrong with you?”

Yeah they look at you like you crazy

Like “Mister what you want me to do?”

“I’m just tryin’ to fill my gas tank up

Just get some gas so I can go!”



Well fast forward to 2013.  There are no more full-service pumps at gas stations.  But we in wheelchairs still have to blow our horns to get help with gas.  I don’t do it.  Too embarrassing.  I just get out of the van and ask a stranger, or roll into the store and ask someone working behind the counter to come out.  But if there is only one person working in the store, they can’t come out to help you.

My buddy Dr. JR Harding is working on solving this issue down in Florida.  Listen to this radio segment on WFSU about his efforts in Tallahassee.  I wish him the best.  I’m tired of the fillin’ station blues!  Here’s a link to the article.


More Information:

National Spinal Cord Injury Association

What do you do when it’s time to fill your tank?  Have you ever been asked by a person in a wheelchair to pump gas? What’s the solution to this problem?

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