With my vacation report finished, I need to write about something rather serious. The events which I am going to describe happened on Monday evening. Normally I am not too fussed about exact dates because I am reporting about something positive and exactly when it happened is not too important. The positive event and the hopeful inspiration it provides are not connected to any specific point. This is different.
On Monday, after going for an ice-cream with my girlfriend I noticed that the price of gas had dropped considerably since before my vacation. The price of a litre of gas was below a dollar and I cannot remember a time like that. My girlfriend explained that this was part of the phenomenon of the Covid 19 virus and some moves being made by Saudi Arabia to gain market share.
I passed a likely gas station that had gas on for 99 cents a litre. I figured that the hysteria would likely continue and figured the price would be lower the next day. My girlfriend remained sceptical. I came to another gas station and the price was 94 cents a litre. On impulse, and despite my (incorrect) belief that it would go even lower, I decided to visit that one. That’s when things got serious.
After pumping my gas, I entered the station building to pay for it and collect my loyalty points. What I stumbled into was something bizarre. The previous customer was shouting at the clerk. Though it is terrible, I have seen it before. People often complain about prices to the people who have no responsibility for setting them. Sadly this was something completely different.
He was shouting about not wanting to take something from her hand–I assumed it was the receipt. He started shouting that he didn’t want the Corona from her. The clerk was shaken. It shouldn’t matter but the woman was from Iran. The customer was from India. Do I suspect that some of what is being spread in the media is responsible? Sure, but it just seemed so bizarre to me.
I approached the counter and asked if she was okay. I don’t like prejudice and racism to begin with, but this goes beyond what I normally see. This made me feel like people were not really getting the main message.
I thought back to my visit to the Chinese food place a few weeks back and how empty the normally full place was. I understand people being wary of travellers from cities and countries with outbreaks, but this woman had obviously been working at this job for some time. Her English was good and I am pretty confident that she had been in the country for a year or more. This is also how I felt about the people at the restaurant.
So, I approached her and gave her time to relax and didn’t rush her on the payments. She still had a little venting to do, so I let her do it. I agreed that this virus and the news about it were upsetting to lots of people and there were going to be some overreactions. Sadly, I doubted it would be the last time somebody would react badly to her.
Of course, if this guy was so worried, why didn’t he just use the pay at the pump technology? Maybe he bought a scratch ticket and objected to her touching it rather than get a receipt. Of course, someone had to stack them in the display file, so his argument was a little stupid.
As a thank you to me, she gave me a free car wash. Not just any car wash, but the deluxe one with multi-coloured foam. It was nice to get the car washed for free. Sadly, it rained the next day.
When exiting the station, we drove by the booth and waved at the lady. She seemed genuinely happy that we took the time to stop by. Now, I just wondered how bad it would get.
As I write this, the NBA has suspended their season and other sports leagues are talking about doing the same. I understand the desire, but I wonder if this is as bad as the flue–which we take no precautions for except the flu shot.
I also noticed a shortage of TP at the stores. Did I miss something? Does Covid 19 make you go to the bathroom more?
Have you witnessed any strange behaviour due to the virus or the news about the virus? How concerned are you?