Meet Shawn

His name is Shawn. Big heart, full of joy, filling tanks one by one.

The thermometer in the car read -12 degrees. My tank was near empty, approximately 30 miles displayed on my dashboard, and I never know how fully I should trust that man made gauge anyway. Groceries filled the car, and baby too, and I had questioned my decision to go out in the weather long before I realized my tank was empty.

I debated. Risk stalling in subzero weather with a baby in tow, or stop and get some gas, even though I detest this cold and don’t feel like pumping gas in it? I decided to stop. Just a bit of gas, I thought. Enough to get me home safely, without worry.

Decidedly brave enough to face the cold for a couple minutes, I stepped out, slipped my credit card in, and opened the tank. With near urgency, this stranger, Shawn, approached my vehicle. He put his gloves on like this was of most importance, like he really wanted to help. Asked if he could pump, said it’s full service. “Really,” I said?! Without reservation, but still in shock, I handed him the pump and got back in the car with the door open just a crack open to carry on conversation.

“Just a little is fine,” I said, then with a change of heart “No, why don’t you go ahead and fill it up!”

“I’m here 7:00 to 3:10, Monday through Friday,” Shawn explained about this full service, standing seemingly in comfort, pumping my gas, bundled up in layers, a hat fit for a true Minnesota man. “Even when it’s -30 below, I’m here!”

In his confident assurance and my quiet disbelief, he used that magic cleaning wand to wet and wipe my front windshield, then again in the back. The last time I did that myself, I don’t recall. A small, but true blessing to be able to see so clearly.

Our time together came to an end, and I thanked Shawn with all sincerity. I promised I’d be back and that I’d tell everyone about Shawn and this special place that offers full service in a do-it-yourself kind of world.

The funny thing was that I had been feeling a little discouraged. I set out to blog about people that inspire me, people that make a difference, people that demonstrate excellence and go above and beyond, people that aren’t afraid to shine their light in a dark world. But near seven months into this blogging journey, I had without a doubt missed opportunities because I was not courageous enough to approach, I had not seen the extravagant greatness and excellence and beauty in people I had set out to see. Unrealistically high expectations collided with my luke-warm bravery. Between the missed opportunities and the not seeing, I was ready to move beyond all this earthly nonsense and start seeing, start risking, start the way down this narrow path  already envisioned.

So as I drove away, I just knew I had to turn around. I pulled around the block and in behind Shawn where I found him filling up a beat up car. He gently tapped the side of that beat up car and sent them on their way.

Out popped my head, and I explained I just had to come back, he was such an inspiration out here in this -12 degree weather pumping gas, filling up tanks with joy. He’s an employee, and he’s been pumping gas, providing full service here for four years, he explained. I wanted to know if he really likes this job as much as it seems? “Yes,” he said, “because I get to meet all kinds of wonderful people like you!”

After a click of the camera phone and another thank you, I was on my way. The subzero temperature still read on my dashboard, but my tank was full, and I was a little more courageous than the time before. And there was Shawn, with his warm smile, light radiating, joy overflowing, in the lot of that gas station, waiting to fill another tank.

I know, my God, that you test the heart and are pleased with integrity. All these things I have given willingly and with honest intent. And now I have seen with joy how willingly your people who are here have given to you.  1 Chronicles 29:17


  1. Tom Baunsgard says:

    That was great… Thanks for sharing Shawn with us all!

  2. Dolly Lee says:

    What a great way to highlight Shawn’s help to you…I felt the brr cold as I read your post…and I bet you made his day, Amy…lovely 🙂

    • Amy says:

      Oh thank you so much Dolly. 🙂 It was ridiculously cold that day, but Shawn brought a ray of light that made the cold nearly disappear!

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