Sitting at a red light the other day, my car was dwarfed as it sat idling alongside a very proud-looking Chevron gas tanker. The light changed, I left him in the dust, and couldn’t help but think about the sight I knew I was about to see. Again. For about the 250th time. My Chevron station that has been sitting abandoned, deserted and desolate for at least that many days.
Located next to Kawananakoa Middle School on Nuuanu Avenue, this station was ALWAYS busy. Last summer they lost their lease, or so we were told. I watched and waited, and waited, and waited. Then, back in October, I was able to corner some Chevron staff members as they were doing some corporate philanthropy at the Susan Komen Race for the Cure. (I love it when I have a captive audience and they HAVE to be nice to me!) I questioned them about the station and they seemed to be comfortable both with the question and with their answer.
I asked them, “So, are you going to open my station again?”
“Oh, yes, it should be opening very soon.”
“You know, that’s a very busy corner. Chevron CAN’T just leave it empty like that!”
“Yeah, I know.”
Fast forward to now, the beginning of March, and still my Chevron sits empty. That beautiful tanker was less than a mile away! Still the station sits, quiet and alone. Even the sign looks like an abandoned infant with it’s fallen tarp looking like a dirty baby diaper. Not that we want to be reminded of the price of gas, but those blanks on the sign make it look anemic!
This poor little station is not well! There is no gas, no air, no water, no safety checks, no diet Coke, and no individually-wrapped cheeseburgers for my husband to pop in the microwave and call dinner (his idea, not mine). It is not only a place for all of these things but it is a security blanket for a busy neighborhood that rarely sleeps.
It used to be open early in the morning giving neighbors a feeling of security while waiting for the bus in the dark. After dark it offered solace when a driver ran out of gas or was suddenly hit with a flat tire. It was always a place to seek safety or refuge because there was always somebody there. Somebody with a phone, a flashlight, a tire gage, or just a sympathetic ear.
Can someone please tell Chevron they don’t live in a vacuum? In addition, the 7-11 that is on the other side of the middle school is too darn busy now because that’s now the closest place to get gas! But, there’s no air, water or auto vacs at 7-11! That’s not what they do. That’s what Chevron does. They used to. I want to be able to update this story. This is the petroleum provider that the Honolulu Star-Bulletin calls Hawaii’s market leader. Hmmm… Chevron?