DURHAM, Maine (NEWS CENTER) - Tough times can sometimes bring out the best in people.
That was the case this week, when in the aftermath of the storm the owner of a store in Durham took a huge leap of faith. She let her customers, some she knew and others she didn’t, have gas and goods on the honor system, with the hope they’ll pay her back.
When the power went out on Monday, the owner and employees of the Durham Get and Go found themselves in a quandary.
“A lot of people just needed gas to get their generator going. A lot of people were hungry because they lost power the night before, were cold wanted a nice warm meal”, said employee Shannon Emerson.
The store remained open thanks to a powerful generator. But with phone and internet lines down, their credit card system and ATM machine were knocked out. Most of their customs were coming in without cash.
“I’m thinking oh no, what do we do”, said Emerson.
The employees have their own line of credit with the store, so they started putting the purchases of people they know on their own accounts.
“Then Donna came in, who is our boss, and said I’ll open my account and let everybody do it. We have them sign a paper and write down their phone number”, Emerson said, adding "A lot of people were really grateful for it. They were like wow, I can’t believe you’re doing this”.
An IOU board in the store is now full with more than 50 receipts.
Donna Dimick’s car was on empty when she pulled in. Without the owner’s trust in her, she doubts she would have made it to work that day.
“Great, that’s what this community is all about. It’s a small town and they’re out to help everybody they can”, Dimick said.
Later that night she came back to pay her debt. The owner and employees are now hoping others are just as honest.
“Ok if you promise to come back. Most of them we see everyday, so if not I told them I’d hunt them down", Emerson said laughing.
Owner Donna Church does expect to take some losses, but in the end she says the goodwill extended to her loyal customers will pay off.