... and keep the change

It was, Gayle Kilburn remembers, an uncomfortable moment. She had just pulled into New Britain Citgo, a gas station in Plainville, Conn., to fill up one day last week, and two identically dressed men were approaching her car, their eyes hidden behind sunglasses. Clearly, there was going to be an encounter; there was no avoiding that. But of what sort would it be? Brief, as it turned out. Through the open window of her Chevrolet, the strangers handed her a card and a bill. They didn't speak and left immediately. On the card were the words, "Re-fueling Our Community. The Gas Men." On the bill was the number $100. And it wasn't Monopoly money either.

By the time she went inside to pay and returned to her car, The Gas Men were gone. But they'd also handed out bills to a half dozen other customers, each of whom presumably was as taken aback by the experience as she. All any of them knows is that the guys were wearing khaki pants, green golf shirts, and baseball caps. Published accounts don't say how much of the cash Gayle used in refueling, but even if the needle on the gauge was down to empty and she pumped superpremium fuel, there must have been some left for the next fill-up. No word, either, on The Gas Men appearing at any other Plainville station. Or whether they'll be showing up in your town next.

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