Gas prices, drive-offs and common courtesy

Published 12:00 am Saturday, July 29, 2006

I did something the other day that I have never done in my entire life. And get your minds out of the gutter.

I paid $35 to fill my car with gas.

And I have one of those small sports cars, not an SUV or anything large.

It's absolutely unreal at the gas prices at the pump today. And, just because of it, I find myself staying at home more and more. And that's not good, you know.

But what really gets me are the people who brazenly and unashamedly drive off without paying for their gas. It's stealing. Yes, I said it. It's stealing, plain and simple.

Our society has reached a point where it honestly believes that if you aren't caught, you haven't done anything wrong. I don't know about you, but the real test of a person's character comes from what that person does when no one is looking. We should all strive to have a character of excellence, not of mediocrity, much less one of dishonor.

Have you noticed not only a lack of morals in our society, but also a lack of plain, common courtesy? Hardly anyone says, &#8220Thank you,” &#8220Please,”

&#8220No, sir,” or &#8220Yes, ma'am,” anymore. To me, these are phrases that should be naturally interwoven in our everyday language. What is so difficult about that? It is my observation that many people associate being nice with being weak. How sad.

One of the first places we look is to our young people. We get angry because we encounter a rude, thankless teen who seems to think that the world owes him or her a free ride through life. There's one big problem with that school of thought, however; kids learn by example.

Speaking of school, let me take this opportunity to thank any teacher who might be reading this. Most people have no idea what a classroom teacher does every day. Teachers have to be not only instructional providers, but also counselors, advisors, referees, nurses, psychologists, and, yes, sometimes they have to be moms and dads. You might not want to hear that, but it's the truth.

Being a former classroom teacher, I know what I'm talking about.

Now, back to the gas drive-offs.

I still remember something that Coach Jim Autrey said: &#8220If you'll lie, you'll cheat; if you'll cheat, you'll steal; if you'll steal, you'll kill.” Yep, that sounds about right to me.

Now, don't get it in your minds that these drive-offs are being done by mostly young people. I have spoken with gas station employees in the past who said that this was being done by young and old. That's right. Adults. Grown folks. In other words, people who should know better.

After discussing this whole matter of gas prices and gas drive-offs with Samson, my 21-pound tomcat, I asked him what he thought about the situation. Have you ever seen the south end of a north-bound tomcat? It's not a pretty sight. When it comes to stealing, Samson and I think a lot alike.

Regina Grayson is managing editor of The Luverne Journal. She can be reached at 335-3541 or by email,: