I have issues: running out of gas

mizzou gas can

The custom-made Mizzou gas container my Uncle Skip made for me after he drove 2 hours to help me when I ran out of gas.

Confession: I have run out of gas in every vehicle I’ve ever owned. Ever’one.

Pathetic, right? I’m not proud of it but I’m sharing it here because apparently this blog’s part-time job is to provide a forum for me to embarrass myself or my husband, or both of us.

Now you might have picked up on this factoid about me if you read the he said-she said posts that we wrote when we took a wrong turn deep in the heart of Texas and nearly ran out of gas. So I figured I’d spill the full details.

The time in the Skylark

It all started with the 1976 Buick Skylark that became my first car in the summer of 1987. I ran out of gas in it several times while my teenage self was driving around my hometown of Columbia, Mo., including on a busy street/highway on my way to work my part-time job at Kmart.

The time in the Nova

Next up was the 1986 Chevy Nova that I owned the last couple years of college. It brought me to Wichita for my summer internship at the Wichita Eagle before my senior year at the University of Missouri, and it again made the trip with me when I moved to Kansas in late 1994, a year after I’d graduated from Mizzou. That next spring (1995) I was covering a big track meet for the Eagle at Wichita State University’s Cessna Stadium. After helping the newspaper’s team with stats and filing my articles from the press box, I left late that Saturday night. I got about a block away when – you guessed it – I ran out of gas.

It wasn’t a block in a good direction, either. It was not the best place to be by myself on a Saturday night in a city I didn’t know very well. This was before cell phones, or even pagers. I was right by a fast food restaurant and there was a pay phone in the parking lot, so I dialed the only local phone number I knew at the time: it was this guy I’d met at the newspaper and had hung out with a few times. His name was Lee and lucky for me, he was at home playing video games on a Saturday night. He rescued me. I returned the favor by marrying him four years later and bringing eternal sunshine into his life :D

The time in the Cavalier

Not long after, I bought a Chevy Cavalier – my first new car! Surely, I would NEVER run out of gas in a NEW car. Well, I’m here to tell ya that 1995 models run out of gas the same way 1976 models do. Same.exact.way.

This time it happened when I was about an hour west of Columbia on my way to Wichita after a visit with family. I swear the gas gauge didn’t work. I swear to this day that I had looked at the gauge and felt like I had enough gas to get me to the stop I planned to make. So when the car sputtered to a stop, I called my Uncle Skip on my new fangled cell phone to tell him something was wrong with the car. No, it wasn’t out of gas, I assured him, something mechanical was wrong. He headed out to come help me.

Soon after I made the call, a passerby stopped and asked if he could help. I told him it wasn’t a gas issue – I was sure of it – and that my uncle would be there any minute. The guy said, “Well, I ran out of gas just yesterday so I have a little left in this gas can. Why don’t we just try it?”

Son-of-a-biscuit-eater, it was out of gas. Damn gas gauge ;-o

My cell phone was dead and I didn’t have a phone charger or my uncle didn’t have a cell phone – there was some reason I couldn’t call him back to cancel his trip. So I drove to the nearest gas station, filled up and waited for my uncle to show up, feeling terrible that I’d wasted his time.

I never left Columbia again without my Uncle Skip asking, “Do you need gas money?” with a huge grin on his face. I deserved it, along with the Christmas present he gave me one year – a custom-made Mizzou-themed gas can. Wish I could say I never needed that damn thing.

mizzou gas can

I keep this in my vehicle all the time now, hoping that because I have it with me I will never need it!

The time in the Accord

I had an accident that totaled the Cavalier – and my neck – so my next automobile was a used 1997 Honda Accord. It was the most comfortable car I’ve ever owned, and it came pimped out with dark tinted windows and a gold detail package. However, I was not stylin’ and profilin’ as I walked across I-35 to a gas station that was within sight of where I’d run out of gas between Emporia and Kansas City on this cold day while driving to Columbia for Thanksgiving.

The time in the Altima

Possibly the stupidest time I ever ran out of gas was in the same parking lot as a gas station. Oh, and no, I didn’t have the Mizzou gas can with me, it was at home in my garage. Oh, and it gets better: Lee was with me this time. In fact, this was the only time I’ve ever had someone else in the car with me while doing the deed.

At this time I was driving a Nissan Altima and we drove from our house to our usual grocery store for some shopping. We also get gas at the gas station operated by the grocery store. I told Lee I needed gas and wondered aloud if I should get it before or after we shop. He suggested after. {Yeah, I kinda want to blame him too, but c’mon that’s not fair. Is it?}

We shop, we load the car up. I get behind the wheel and turn the key. Nothing. No sputter, no nothin’. Same with Lee – no sputter, no nothin’. He didn’t move. By his look, I knew I was on my own for this one. I walked across the parking lot and bought a stupid red container of gasoline. I walked back to the car, poured it in and drove to the freakin’ gas pump and filled up. At least our frozen foods were still fine by the time we got home.

This is approximately where I ran out of gas in the grocery store parking lot. See how close the freakin’ gas station is!

The time in the x3

So this leads me to my current vehicle, my BMW x3. My new BMW x3. Nicest car I’ve owned to date. Surely, I would NEVER run out of gas in a NEW vehicle. {broken record}

Within months of owning this car, not only did I run out of gas … I ran out of gas on Kellogg. At 5 p.m.

For those of you not in Wichita, let me put it this way: I’m an idiot. Seriously.

Kellogg is the main highway that runs east-west through our mid-size metropolis. Massive amounts of traffic. Driving on it sucks any time of day, but it’s crazy at rush hour.

So who came to my rescue? That guy who helped me out the first time I ran out of gas in Wichita, nearly 14 years earlier. I’m hoping I still have his number the next time it happens. Yeah, there’s gonna be a next time.


This post is part of a series I like to call “I have issues.” Read the one about my email issues here.

This entry was posted in Family, Lee, Weird shit that happens.


  1. Holly June 19, 2013 at 10:33 am #

    I love this! My question – is ever’one kinda like ever’day?

  2. Mel June 19, 2013 at 5:37 pm #

    Um….glad to see you don’t rat out friends you have to deliver money to on the turnpike for tolls & GAS!!!!!!!!!! YEEYEE!

    • Melinda June 19, 2013 at 6:40 pm #

      I don’t have to — you just outed yourself :)

  3. nikki June 20, 2013 at 4:50 am #

    Which one of those cars had the dented trunk lid? (Twice)

    • Melinda June 20, 2013 at 3:43 pm #

      That was the Cavalier. Thanks for bringing THAT up :(

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  1. By This one time at Bloggy Boot Camp … on April 15, 2014 at 1:19 pm

    […] I’m going to be typecast! I promise I really do write about other things – from silly posts like running out of gas in every vehicle I’ve ever owned or wanting to punch my husband in the face during a long road trip in Texas, to serious stuff like […]

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