We’ve all been there. You’re driving home and the gas light comes on. No big deal, right? You’ve driven on fumes before. Remember that one time in college when you got a whole extra 16 miles even though the gas gauge was on “E”? Hell, you probably could have pushed it even further, but you chickened out when you saw that Wawa from the highway. So, you press on, confident that you’ll make it to your destination. And then it happens. The lurch. The stutter. The silence. You just ran out of gas.
You, who never leaves home without jumper cables and a pocket knife. You, who laughs at clueless teenagers struggling to change a tire. You, who has now committed the cardinal sin of automotive preparedness.
The good news is, you’re not alone. Plenty of drivers make this mistake every day. (Even in a world with state-of-the-art instrument clusters and real-time MPG tracking.) And in case you’re reading this stuck on the side of a road somewhere, chewing up data while you wait for a AAA technician to arrive and pass judgement, we’ve rounded up some of the best “That time I ran out of gas” stories we could find on the web. Trust us, these stories will make you see your situation in a new light.
That Time the King Ran Out of Gas and Got Mobbed
Shortly after lunchtime on December 11, 1956, the King himself, Mr. Elvis Presley, was driving his brand-new Cadillac Eldorado Seville when it ran out of gas in front of the State Savings Bank in Memphis, Tennessee.
Whether it’s truth or myth, stories say that within minutes people began flocking to the scene. Policemen had to block the street and even fetch the gas for him. Eventually the King was on his way, but not before he allegedly popped into an ambulance to console a little girl inside. If only running out of gas could be this glamorous for the rest of us, eh?
That Time an Unknown Rookie Ran Out of Gas… and Won the Indy 500
On Sunday, May 29, 2016 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, a 24-year old unknown rookie named Alexander Rossi shocked audiences when he took first place by literally coasting over the finish line. Rossi’s team knew his car wasn’t strong enough to win, so they decided to play the odds. By refusing to pull over for gas with the leaders, Rossi was able to gain precious seconds on the competition. But that left him 85 miles from the finish line with only 76 miles left of fuel in the tank. Call it excellent driving or fuzzy math, but Rossi not only finished the race, he also took the checkered flag. We call that a happy ending to an otherwise unhappy situation.
That Time Ewan McGregor Ran Out of Gas and Made a New Friend
If you’re still feeling low about running out of gas, it may cheer you up to know that even a legendary Jedi Master forgets to top off the tank now and again. Actor Ewan McGregor found himself stranded in the Utah desert on his way from Cincinnati to LA. In a British sportscar. With a dog. In a driving costume, that by his own words made him look like “a French hairdresser.” (Obi Wan, is that YOU?!)
Luckily, a fan stopped to help and made a friend in the process. The kicker? In 2004 he filmed a British TV series of him and a friend traveling 19,000 miles by motorcycle from London to New York. (Stars! They’re just like us!)
That Time Luke Bryan Ran Out of Gas
Seeing a pattern here yet? Either famous people just don’t worry about mundane things like filling up the tank, or running out of gas really is that commonplace. Either way, country singer Luke Bryan posted this funny video to his Instagram last month when he and his family ran out of gas on a trip.
That Time a Woman Ran Out of Gas and It Changed Her Life
When TunDe Hector ran out of gas one day in 2014 and a kind stranger stopped to help her, she never could have predicted how it would come back full circle. The man who filled her gas can, and gave her some spare money to help her through a difficult time, re-entered her life three years later—at a time when she could help him.
Chris Wright’s mother was battling a fatal illness and TunDe was assigned as her nurse’s aide. They became very close and, upon chatting one day, discovered that TunDe and Chris had already met—on that fateful day back in 2014. Feeling this was more than coincidence, the bond between Chris’s family and TunDe grew stronger. When Chris’s mother finally passed, the family decided they wanted to give back to TunDe for her kindness and strength during such a difficult time. They set up a YouCaring web site to raise some money for her 4-year nursing degree. As the story touched hearts around the world, the small goal of $1,000 was met within 45 minutes and the family soon raised over $37,000 for their new lifelong friend. Score one for serendipity.
That Time America Ran Out of Gas
As the old saying goes, It could always be worse. Running out of gas can really make for a bad day. But when the whole country runs out? Well, that’s what we call a real nightmare. In 1973, OPEC announced an oil embargo in response to the US’s support of Israel during the Yom Kippur war. The global economy was ill-prepared for such a move, triggering stock market crashes and soaring inflation. It was not uncommon to see cars lined up around the block for gasoline. And while the embargo was lifted the following March, oil prices have never been the same.
Have a good story about that time YOU ran out of gas? Share it in the comments!