Jon and I have been traveling about the country now for about ten years (ever since we bought our travel trailer). Gas stops were always a challenge. Finding gas stations with easy in, easy out and enough room to navigate through. And of course, the challenge of finding clean bathrooms. There have been many times that I appreciated the convenience of pulling a bathroom behind the truck. I sometimes used the camper rather than brave the uncertainty and sometimes grossness of a gas station bathroom.
We stopped at our first Buc-ee’s when we were living in Mississippi and driving I10 to San Antonio to visit Jon’s parents. Our first mile marker on the long trip was the billboard near the Louisiana border that said “Only 262 Miles to Buc-ee’s. You can Hold It.” We counted down the signs until we got there. It became a beacon for every trip. We now live in New Braunfels (Buc-ee’s was kind enough to build in our new hometown) and when we drive east to visit our daughter and her family in Virginia, we have the option to stop (and often do) at four Buc-ee’s locations (and a fifth option if we drive about a half hour out of the way for the one near Gulf Shores). We’ve heard rumor there may be more coming along our route and we’re excited.
We have many reasons to love Buc-ee’s but that’s not the point of the gospel of Buc-ee’s. Over the years as we’ve traveled, we started noticing how gas stations are stepping up their game. They have cleaner bathrooms. More courteous employees. More coffee and soda options (pop for my northern family and friends). The newer gas stations are bigger, with more bathrooms, better bathrooms. And often more gas pumps that are easier to get in and out.
Sure you can argue economic competition. But. Buc-ee’s set out with a mission. Have the world’s cleanest bathrooms (it’s on their website). And have lots of them. Along with lots of gas pumps. Then combine it with great service, care about the customers and pay employees well. They did this and people came. And still come. And Buc-ee’s reaps the harvest of profit.
The gospel? Well, I don’t think Buc-ee’s went around trying to tell the gas stations how to do business. They weren’t telling other places what they should or shouldn’t be doing. They weren’t making a public fuss about the lack of clean bathrooms. They didn’t try to legislate for cleaner bathrooms or more pumps or higher wages. They just set an example of doing it well. Others took notice and started doing the same. And we travelers enjoy the benefits and the blessings.
“For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you.” Jesus in the Gospel of John 13:15
“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew 5:14,16