CULLMAN, AL (WXTX) - Here's a bit of a history lesson. Can you remember why they used to call service stations service stations? It was because they provided a service.
Now a stop in Cullman might seem like a trip back to the future. Raycom's Fred Hunter says there's a spot there on Highway 31 where service is back in style and that style is Absolutely Alabama.
"There was a young lady that dropped by to purchase fuel and she was quite shocked by the fact that we pump it for her at no additional charge so it was exciting to not only service the customer but explain to her that years ago this was common thing," explains Jamie Hankey of Hankey's Service Center. "You know? If the customer looks at us kind of funny we explain to them, Hey! We pump you gas for you. You don't have to get out of the car."
It's a bit of a sad commentary to say service is something which catches people by surprise these days.
"I was very surprised to see the guy come up and want to put pump the gas in," said Craig Steffanidas, a tourist from Michigan.
The Steffanidas were on their way home to Michigan after wintering on the Gulf Coast when they happened on Hankey's Service Center a few miles off the interstate on Highway 31 in Cullman. It's 2nd Avenue to locals like Joyce Sedlmayr but she discovered something here as well.
"I stopped to get gas and I asked him to check my oil because I understand that you know?" said Joyce said. "That they were a full service station and he did and found out that my oil was low."
Fortunately for Joyce when she wheeled into Hankey's the open for business sign was already on and Kyle Jason and Scott were already on the job as well.
"We pump gasoline seven days a week. The garage is open Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Saturday 8 a.m. to noon. And it's very popular with the ladies and with the handicapped and the elderly so it's a good service they're doing for the community. I'm old enough that I remember pump in fuel for customers and ah have in people pump my fuel so whether you call it pay it forward or whatever, I wanted to give back."
A place like Hankey's Service Center isn't just a convenience for Cullman. Some people might say it's good for, well America.
"It's very nice to see that this is coming back in America, a good positive move to start America back on the right track."
"It all comes down to two things and that's people and offering them a service and if you do a good job at offering them that service they'll come back. They'll trust you and they'll want to be your friend."
We'll all be hitting the road again soon; on vacation, headed for ball games or maybe just a trip to grandma's house and when you're traveling through Cullman, take a little detour here to Hankey's Service Center, emphasis on service and Absolutely Alabama.