Never have I ever had the HazMat team called, until a few years ago. This happened while I was in grad school and was living outside of Baltimore, Maryland. I was teaching in an inner city school and was exhausted at the end of every week (don’t worry-this is an important fact). I also was driving this sweet car:
This isn’t really important-but funny. So it was the end of a long week and I was driving down to Rockbridge which is about 4 hours away. I was tired. It was raining. There was a lot of traffic. When I finally got to the Shenandoah Valley the gas was cheap. Incredibly cheap. I didn’t really even need gas, but also couldn’t deny the good deals I was seeing. I decided to stop and fill up. I took the time to fill up my car, throw some trash away and then got distracted by a puppy buying/picking up transaction. Who wouldn’t? I was sitting in the front seat of the celeb. Watching the puppies and waiting to go on my way. Click! The gas was done pumping. So I began driving until I heard a louder CLICK. Hmmm, what was that? I looked back and saw something like this:
Instead of snow, imagine a clear liquid. At first I was confused. Then I realized that the mystery liquid pouring down on the 4 or 5 people pumping their cars was gas. I immediately jumped out of the car, removed the gas pump that was hanging out of my car and ran into the gas station.
“I’m so sorry!” I yelled. The ladies in the gas station look at me dumbfounded until a man burst in yelling, “WHERE IS THE EMERGENCY SHUT OFF SWITCH?!” They had no idea(these ladies didn’t quite look like the career women/professional gas attendants we all needed at that minute), so the man dropped to the ground and began to military crawl around looking for the switch. What seems like an eternity later, he found it and the gas stopped pouring from the pumps.
With the gas stopped, it was time for the clean up. The HazMat team was called so that the people covered in gas would be able to go about their Friday night plans. While we waited for the team one of the ladies from behind the counter decided she should put down some kitty litter to deal with the spill. This woman had a body a little like this:
A body like this is a little top heavy. One misstep and her tiny legs flew up above her. Everyone rushed to her side and placed her on a chair in the back room and called an ambulance just as fast as possible (looking back this seems like a bit dramatic, right?). The ambulance arrived long before the HazMat truck(which one was the bigger emergency anyway?). The stretcher got back to the lady fine, but once her body was on it the angles getting out from the back room became almost impossible. This over the top sight did make me stop crying, finally. She was able to muster enough strength to give me a personal wave goodbye before the doors were slammed and she was off to get doctor to look at that bruise that had to be appearing quickly.
Finally the HazMat team arrived. People were allowed to go along with their Friday night plans. And I called my friend Courtney, who I was heading to pick up, and said, “I’m not ready to laugh about this yet, but I am going to be a little late.”