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A question for the Gas Station Guy

Antoinette H. Condobrey
By Antoinette H. Condobrey

Antoinette Herrmann-Condobrey is a journalist who specialises in digital media and magazine reporting. She has a strong attachment to topical issues and a soft spot for arts and culture reporting. Journalism for her is a passion and this is evident in her careful approach to reporting and the comprehensiveness of her work. "The hardest and one of the most depressive things for me to do," she says, "is to go ahead and publish a story that my mind tells me could do with one more fact." Antoinette has functioned as a senior reporter and editor. The Ghanaian-born has real concerns about the representation of Africa by the more developed world and is convinced that only the African media can do justice to the image of the continent. It is this task that she hopes to help accomplish through her work.

Posted on Wednesday, 23 May 2012 13:04

The gas station guy who filled my tank this afternoon in a southern New Jersey town appeared very excited and so full of smile when I rolled down my window to speak with him – leaving me in a state of puzzlement.

What a great attitude, I was forced to think.

I gave him a 2-dollar tip when he was done serving me, and started driving off; but he ran after me and knocked at my window, as if having second thoughts.

I rolled it down and he said, “Ma’am, I just want to tell you you’ve made my day.”

Glad my 2 dollar tip was that valued, I replied with a big smile: “Well, my pleasure.”

Then he added, “I was in London when the album was first released.”

I rolled my eyes before it sank in. It was the music I was playing.

“Oooooh, I seeeeee!!” I replied, laughing uncontrollably.

“It was my favorite song,” he continued, “I used to work at a bar and it was played there every night,” he added before running back to pump gas into a car that had just pulled in.

I couldn’t stop smiling as I drove off.

“Dance Party,” by Eddy Grant, from the “Born Tuff” album, released in 1986 in the UK, was the song I was playing.

And what high school student in West Africa in the mid eighties to early nineties didn’t dance his or her feet off to this song.

I got home still smiling when suddenly, the question popped up in my head: What the heck is he doing selling gas in 2012 when he was a bartender in 1986?

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