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    Causing A Storm

    | West Point, NY, USA |

    (The week after Hurricane Sandy, gas is rationed in several counties, including mine. I am a customer at a gas station on a military base. There are signs at every pump that say you must pay inside, 100% ID check, and ten gallon limit.)

    Me: *to the clerk* “$20 on pump one, please.”

    (As I say this, another customer storms inside.)

    Customer: “Excuse me! Why won’t the stupid pump take my card? I’ve been out there for five minutes, I don’t have time for this!”

    Clerk: “I’m very sorry. Pay-at-the-pump has been turned off until the gas shortage is over. I will be happy to process your transaction when I am finished helping this customer.”

    Customer: *nearly pushes me* “No, I was here first! I need $75 on pump 5, hurry up!”

    (The clerk finishes putting through my cash transaction and takes the customer’s credit card.)

    Clerk: “There is a limit of ten gallons per customer, and I must see your military ID before I can process you.”

    Customer: “What do you mean ten gallons?! I need to fill my car up! I have things to do today, and I don’t have my ID with me. It’s at home.”

    Clerk: “I’m sorry. I cannot sell you gas today without it.”

    Customer: “Listen you, my husband is a Colonel! I don’t have to take this from you. You will put $75 on my pump; I don’t have time for this!”

    (A military police officer has been listening to the whole exchange and walks over. Note that he is a specialist—a low-rank enlisted.)

    Military Police Officer: “Ma’am, these rules come down from the Base Commander. Please stop harassing the clerk, go get your ID, and come back.”

    Lady: “You can’t tell me what to do, specialist! I’m going to call my husband right now; I’ll have your rank! You’ll be doing extra duty for the next year!”

    Military Police Officer: “Actually, ma’am, I can tell you what to do. Why don’t we go talk about it at the MP Station? Your husband can come and pick you up from there.”

    Editor’s note: Although this story tells the lighter side of things, the devastation caused by Sandy is very serious. Click here to visit FEMA’s dedicated Sandy page and learn how you can donate and volunteer.