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Casey's General Store will pump gas for the elderly

DETROIT LAKES -- It started with a phone call, which led to another couple calls and now those having difficulty pumping their own gasoline are being helped.

It began when a senior citizen in the area called Judy Peterson, the Becker County coordinator on aging.

"I received a call from a senior, and she just asked the simple question 'is there anyone who could fill our gas,'" Peterson said.

With Grover's full-service gas station closed and no other known gas stations advertising to pump gas, Peterson made some calls to find a station that would help. She found Casey's General Store, located at the corner of Highway 34 and Roosevelt Avenue.

"She (the senior caller) came at it from the perspective that 'we're not looking for anything special for the seniors. We will pay extra if we have to, if we could just have the service,'" Peterson said.

Casey's Area Supervisor Ann Reurink said any of her stores would be willing to pump gas for people, and the ones in Fergus Falls, Alexandria, Moorhead and Dilworth already provide that service.

"Just pull up to the pump, come on in and ask the cashier that they would like someone to go pump their gas for them." It's as simple as that, she said.

Although Casey's doesn't necessarily advertise that they provide the service, it's also no big secret either.

"It's just a normal ... what we consider customer service kind of thing we do for people."

It all started for Reurink when she started with Casey's 15 years ago.

"When I was first a manager, I had some elderly people that would come in and ask me to pump their gas for them. Well, then the word got out at the senior citizen center that there was this nice lady over at Casey's that would pump your gas and it just kind of snowballed on me," she said with a laugh.

"I was just doing it to be nice, and the word got out."

Although anyone can use the service, it's mainly the elderly that have taken advantage of it.

Besides not being able to twist the gas cap or whatever the reason may be for having difficulties, Reurink said technology is also an obstacle for some seniors. Having to go through different steps, pushing buttons, or even being able to read the little screens can be difficult.

In her Fergus Falls store, there are about 30 people a day that use the service.

"I have one lady in Fergus that will call and say she's on her way. And then we watch for her."

There is no fee, and no tips are required for pumping the gas. It's simply a free customer service that Casey's provides.

"The original call came from a senior," Peterson said. "And they (Casey's) responded."

Hours for pumping gas at the Detroit Lakes store are 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday-Friday, and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.