For the past two decades, I have shared a company car with colleagues as we have provided services to large geographical areas. In this process, I have traded the car back and forth literally hundreds of times. It has been quite an interesting experience. I have learned a lot about love and patience from this process.
Our company has policies governing the use of the agency car. One of those policies is you always return the car with ¾ of a tank of gas or more. This policy is so helpful, because it is frustrating to pick up the car and find you must fill up an empty tank. So, you always fill up the tank before you return the car.
Over the years, I have had people who did not honor that policy. I have been frustrated as I have had to take the extra time to fill up the tank before I leave for my trip. Because the trips are usually longer, I must add fuel before I depart. So, if I follow policy, I will put gas in before I leave and when I return. Not the worst fate, but frustrating nonetheless.
When the tank showed up empty one week, I decided to give my colleague the benefit of the doubt. I chose not to say anything and I filled up the tank. I figured something may have happened, and he just needed to get the car back to me in time. I had hope in my heart he would do the same for me someday if I was unable to get the tank full before I brought the car back.
However, what should I do when the car gets returned week after week without a full tank? I decided to say something. So, I approached him and said something like, “I would really appreciate it if you would return the car with a full tank. I don’t like to have to fill up twice.” He acted surprised and kind of mumbled an apology.
I was relieved the very next time that the tank was full! Problem solved (as I pat myself on the back for being so courageous and assertive!). I was truly grateful to feel heard and have him respond. Then, the next week, the car was returned with not enough fuel! What is this about? So, I did what I should not have done! I decided to show him what it felt like. So, I returned the car with an almost empty tank.
I felt so stressed doing this. I took my trip, refusing to fill it up. I was anxious the whole time that I was going to run out of gas. I barely made it back on fumes, but I returned the car completely empty. I felt horrible inside, but I did it anyway.