Life is full of tough choices and hard decisions. And I had one to make the other day when my van's tank was running close to E.
If you know me at all, you know I'm pretty crunchy granola. I love God's creation and creatures so much, especially the ocean and beach. So, this BP thing has been devastating to my heart. I can only watch about 5 minutes of CNN coverage before I feel literally nauseated by all the damage. I hate what it is doing to the environment. I hate the effect it is having on all the people who live and work in the Gulf. I hate how it makes politicians and pundits point fingers and cast blame. I hate what it says about our petrochemical-dependent society. I hate it all and I just want to do something to help. And I feel really helpless.
On the major intersection near my house, there are gas stations on three of the four corners...BP, Shell & something else I can't remember. The BP is the hardest for me to get to, is usually more expensive, and always crowded. Yet, I typically buy my gas there. And the other day, after a lot of soul-searching, I pulled my van in there and fueled up.
Why? The answer is Ron.
Ron owns the BP station on the corner and Ron is my husband's friend. Ron is a really hardworking guy. He has kids similar ages as our kids. His cashier station is full of drawings by his kids and pictures of his babies. Ron is the kind of guy who takes care of his friends. He has often worked my car in for maintenance or an oil change, whether it is that my car broke down or that he just knows I have to pick my kids up by a certain time. On hot days, Ron has given me and the baby rides home, even though he knows we live close enough to walk, but he understands that it is not fun to carry your baby even 1/2 a mile in 90 degrees. He's a good guy.
I know a lot of people are boycotting BP. And in a lot of ways, I agree with those people and their stance. And if it was the Shell station across the street whose mega-corporation screwed up the Earth, I'd be boycotting them, for sure. Ron's station got picketed the other weekend. (Ron's response was to hold a Dawn dish soap drive for the animals who need cleaned up). I get the boycott. I really do.
But again, I go back to my breaking heart and my desire to do something to help the situation. I realized when I was struggling over buying my gas from Ron or pulling into the easier, cheaper Shell station, that there was something I could do to help a specific someone affected by this disaster. BP corporate isn't going to suffer significantly if I don't fill up the Honda there. But Ron will. Ron will suffer if his regular customers like me all decide to take out their anger on BP by buying their gas from someone other than him. And so, I made my tough choice. I chose friendship over ideals, local over global. Life is full of hard choices. But for me, for now, I think I made the right one.