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Waiting for a free fill-up

Molly Shore

Bill Hamlin got in line at 6 a.m. Thursday to fill his truck’s

42-gallon gas tank. Three hours later, he made it to the pump at the

Shell Station at 550 N. Hollywood Way where 87 octane was $2.01 a

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gallon.

The wait was worth the effort, Hamlin said. After all, the fill-up

cost the Burbank resident nothing.

Hamlin was one of hundreds of motorists who lined up on Hollywood

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Way, some at midnight, to take advantage of a promotional giveaway

sponsored by Delaware-based ING Direct, an online bank breaking into

the Los Angeles market.

ING Direct spokeswoman Ashlee Stokes said the company gave away

about $50,000 worth of gas in the one-day promotion at three stations

throughout the area.

“When people show up, they get their free tank [of gas] and

they’re on their way,” Stokes said. “They’re under no obligation;

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it’s strictly goodwill.”

Glendale resident Gregory Pyburn didn’t mind being a little late

to work. Pyburn, who had waited since 6:30 a.m. for his free gas,

said he had to get out and stretch his legs after sitting in his car

for three hours. Pyburn said he is interested in checking out ING

Direct.

“It has spurred my curiosity, that’s for sure,” the said.

The long line, reminiscent of the gas shortages in the 1970s, was

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backed up from the station to Alameda Avenue, and at one point

wrapped around Alameda Avenue to Lima Street, Sgt. Rick Madrid said.

“Once the morning news started [broadcasting] with their remotes

that there was free gas, everyone started showing up. A guy even

drove in from Anaheim,” Madrid said.

Four fights were reported, along with a few minor fender benders

at the scene.

Shell Station owner Issa Khoury said Thursday was the best day of

business for him since he purchased the station 14 years ago. During

a normal 24-hour business day, Khoury estimates he takes in $10,000,

but Thursday morning, he made nearly that much, with ING Direct

footing the bill.


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