Seminary Gas & Food

Sitting outside our local gas station Seminary Gas & Food, I realize that this is probably the busiest spot in our neighborhood. There are lots of customers stopping for gas, cigarettes, coffee, snacks, alcohol and other goodies. The store also carries the essentials that you need when you don’t want to go to the grocery store, such as milk, eggs, juice, toilet paper, and dog and cat food.

Seminary Gas & FoodI know this place well, and the family that runs this business knows me by name. They are from Yemen and they all pitch in to help run the business. It is nice to see a family work together. They always have security here because you never know what could happen.

Years ago I remember being in the store when there was an attempted robbery. The father fired his gun while I was in the store to scare the group of eight or so young men who were trying to steal some alcohol, I believe. I screamed so loud I scared all the robbers away. I think they will always remember me from that day, as I then became the local screamer. Yeah it was embarrassing, but secretly I think my screams might have saved a life that day. It made everyone stop. So when in doubt scream NOOOOOOOO as loud as you can.

Back to today. The customers are very diverse and come from all ethnicities. I see Black, Latin, Asian, Caucasian, and all types of people in the store. There are adults and even some kids asking their parents if they can have a treat. Some folks just got off of work, you can tell, and there are a few neighborhood locals like myself who come through here often. Some of the customers are still in their work attire, and some are wearing their pants hanging down, and aren’t even wearing shirts. I guess it is summer.Seminary Gas & Food

One thing I notice is that people are throwing their trash on the ground when there are two trash cans visible. Hmm. I wonder why folks do that; it is so frustrating.

There are speakers overhead and you can hear music playing which is nice. You can hear the ever present buzz of the nearby freeway 580, and there are a few pigeons flying around.

There are all kind of vehicles coming through for gas. Motorcycles, sedans, trucks, hooptie’s and even some “Souped Up Whips.” Some of them have their own music playing so loud it drowns out the overhead speakers. It seems like there is a constant ebb and flow of customers. Now the gas station is full of cars, and in another 15 minutes it is quiet again.

I appreciate how friendly the family is who owns this store. If they know you, they greet you by name. How nice to be recognized in your own community. I wish more of our neighbors made that effort, myself included. I think they know their customer base very well, and I bet they have some stories to tell. Hopefully in the future I will be able to interview the mother and get her perspective on running this place. They have been running this store for many years, and honestly they do a great job.  I appreciate them and their store.

Author Profile

I am a mixed race woman who grew up in a Native-American community in Oakland, Ca. I attended many Native-American ceremonies, Pow Wows, and cultural events. I am very proud of my Native-American heritage, and I also hope to learn more about my African-American side of the family.

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