Dear people at the gas station on Houston & Ave D:
Let's admit it: Things weren't looking good for me. I was in a gas station alone, surrounded by a motley selection of New Yorkers -- cabbies, folks in inordinately-large-for-ny cars, and a man refueling his ice cream truck. My car was all gassed up, but wouldn't start.
No one was honking, but there was a man in a giant green SUV who looked like he had his hand poised. I kept putting my key in the ignition and turning. A/C - check; Radio - check; actual on-ness of car - nothing. When I tried to put the car in drive, it just slid backwards toward the man refueling the ice cream truck.
I tried another 12 times, give or take, trusting that "if at first you don't succeed, try, try again" would pull through for me. The gas station attendant approached, as it became clear the theory wasn't working.
He wasn't able to get the car going, and neither was the Hispanic man who came over to help, saying "mami, just look at the instruction manual." More gas station attendants swirled around me, and I got lots of advice, until finally they put the car in neutral and dragged it away from the line of cars impatiently waiting to fuel.
I called zipcar, and it turns out that I used the car's key, when you're supposed to only use the magnetic entry card doohicky. The woman on the phone gave the car a hard restart (just like when you call Time Warner because your cable is out). Cheers to the zipcar lady, and jeers to me, for goofing everything up.
But biggest amazement and praise to everyone at the gas station, who was genuinely concerned, 100% patient, incredibly helpful, almost bizarrely involved, and truly uninterested in stealing my tote full of freelance & my wallet, which I did not monitor well in the chaos.. All this, and I even returned the zipcar 10 minutes early.