Ethics test

I just completely forgot what side of the car my gas tank was on. I know this happens to a lot of people. You pull in, get out of the car, and whoops, you’re on the wrong side.

I guess my excuse is that I drive another car for work sometimes and its gas tank is on the opposite side from mine. Last Saturday, I filled up the gas tank in the work car twice – in Portland and near the office – and then switched back to my own car and had to fill it up too before driving home.

But today’s gaffe wasn’t the whoops, silly me, variety. This was, I got out of the car, swiped my Safeway rewards card and credit card, put my hand on the pump and turned around, completely astonished not to see the gas tank door. I had been certain it was on that side.

I hit cancel and drove my car around to the other side, where the gas pump told me, “Steven Wilson, your gas discount is 10 cents a gallon!” I was about to, with a clear conscience, mooch Steven Wilson’s gas reward (mine is only 3 cents a gallon. I don’t actually shop at Safeway, just buy gas there) but the pump was insisting I lift the lever and pump without swiping my own credit card. I hit the cancel, clear and stop buttons, but it wouldn’t clear. Kept telling my to lift the lever and pump my gas. There was just a hair of an instant when I thought, “Well, if the gas pump is telling me to steal from Steven Wilson, I guess I’m meant to do it.”

But of course I got back in my car, drove around again, and pumped gas with my sad, little 3 cent discount.