Saturday, I held my 44 oz cup against the lever for the Diet Coke spigot at the Gas Station Chicken Store, and heard "Pfft! Pfft-pftt! PFFT!" Well. This ol' Val wasn't born yesterday! I know that the soda fountain makes that noise as it runs out of soda. Happened to me two weeks ago, when I got about 1/3 cup of Diet Coke, and then white foamy liquid. The Stern Old Lady clerk went to fix it, though, and tested it with a smaller cup, until it was right.
This time, a line of 5 people awaited the nice but new-and-slow clerk to ring up their gas purchases. I knew that I was not going to get special treatment from him. My heart pounding, instinct took over. I pulled my cup away, took one step to the right, and finished my last 30 oz at the Diet Pepsi spigot on the lesser soda fountain. I don't normally enjoy Diet Pepsi, but it was palatable, and better than going without, or making an extra stop.
Even better, the Man Owner came out of nowhere (nowhere most likely being the back room), and opened the second register, right when I was next in line. Because he's always so congenial, I shared the information that I had sucked his spigot dry. Or at least relieved it of all Diet Coke. And Man Owner said, "I'm not going to charge you for the soda."
I thanked him, but insisted on paying. "I already have my correct change ready! It's no big deal. You don't have to do that."
"Well...I'll catch you next time."
He's a class act, that Man Owner. As I type this, I am enjoying my 44 oz Diet Coke-Pepsi mixed with sugar free cherry limeade powder. It couldn't be any sweeter if it was free. It's the thought that counts.