Three Terrifying Real-Life Tales of Running Out of Gas

Story 1

This took place back in 2005 when I was 18 years old, residing in Uvaldi, Texas, which was a financially disadvantaged neighborhood typical of the rural areas in Texas, particularly when you weren’t on the outskirts of a major city. The nearest city to me was San Antonio, and I was attending a nearby community college because it was the only affordable option my parents could provide.

One of my closest high school friends, Andrew, decided to relocate to San Antonio to attend San Antonio College. He resided in a modest apartment on the outskirts of the city, sharing it with a roommate. His girlfriend frequently stayed over, as the city was only an hour and a half away. I made regular visits to see him, and one weekend, he extended an invitation for me to spend the night. So, I loaded up my dependable, albeit aging, 1995 Toyota Pickup Truck – well, not quite dependable, it was more of a relic. The gas gauge had long stopped functioning, leaving me with the task of manually tracking my fuel consumption by noting when I last refueled and resetting the trip mileage.

I followed Route 90, a direct path from Uvaldi to San Antonio. It was around 3:00 p.m. on a Friday, and remarkably, there was no traffic to contend with. I arrived at Andrew’s place at a reasonable hour. Since his girlfriend wouldn’t be joining us until the following day, we decided to go out that night. We made a pit stop at a liquor store, enjoyed some drinks at his apartment along with his roommate, and later, the three of us headed to a dive bar that was somewhat lenient with fake IDs. That pretty much summed up our evening. After grabbing some late-night food, we returned to their apartment around 2:00 a.m., and I crashed on the couch.

The following day could have been quite uneventful, but Andrew and his girlfriend encountered problems throughout the day. As the evening wore on and they both became increasingly inebriated, she began to berate him in my presence, creating an increasingly awkward and uncomfortable atmosphere. I had refrained from consuming much alcohol that day, as I had reservations about spending the night with her around. Eventually, I made the decision to depart. I bid farewell to everyone and embarked on my journey back home.

It was the dead of night, and I’d venture to guess it was approaching midnight, perhaps even a tad earlier. The stretch of Route 90 lay desolate in this late hour, granting me the freedom to push my vehicle’s limits—well, by my standards, at least. But then, as if on cue, the engine began to falter. A surge of dread overcame me as I realized I’d neglected to refuel the tank. I eased off the gas pedal, but it was too late; the engine sputtered to a halt. I coasted to the roadside and made several futile attempts to restart it, but to no avail.

I pulled out my cell phone, which was just as unreliable as my truck, and attempted to find a signal. No luck. There was no way I could call for assistance. I had no choice but to turn on my hazard lights and hope that a kind stranger would come to my rescue. It felt like an eternity before I finally spotted headlights in the distance. As the car approached, I vigorously waved my arms, but it sped past me, completely ignoring my plea for help. This unfortunate scenario repeated itself after about another 10 minutes. I began to lose hope, considering the possibility of spending the night in my car and waiting for daylight to seek assistance. So, that became my plan. I settled into my car, removed the key from the ignition to conserve the battery, and reclined my seat in preparation for sleep. Occasional cars whizzed by, roughly every 10 minutes, but I refrained from flagging them down in the darkness. It just didn’t feel safe for me or for the passing drivers.

As I began to drift off to sleep, the sudden sound of a car door closing behind me jolted me awake. Glancing into the rearview mirror, I spotted a car parked behind me, its headlights switched off. Turning around, I squinted to get a clearer view. It appeared to be a large pickup truck, but I couldn’t discern if anyone was inside or outside of it. Perhaps someone had stopped to offer assistance. I stepped out of my vehicle and politely called out, “Excuse me,” but received no response. Approaching the truck, I confirmed there was no one inside. I returned to my car, feeling perplexed. I gazed toward the trees alongside the road, wondering if someone was relieving themselves in the woods. Deciding it was best to err on the side of caution, I retreated to the safety of my car and locked the door. The whole situation was undeniably peculiar.

Suddenly, a light tap on my window startled me. My gaze darted to the source, revealing a man peering down into the car with a friendly grin. At first, I didn’t react, unsure of his intentions. He shattered the quietude with a question: “Hey there, friend, could you use some assistance?”

I cautiously lowered the window a crack and replied, “I ran out of gas.” To my understanding, it seemed like he wanted help with fetching a gas jug or something of the sort. So, I stepped out of the vehicle and closed the door, anticipating him to guide me to his truck. Towering over me, he continued to smile and said, “I need you to empty your pockets, please.”

It took me a moment to fully grasp his intentions. Here I was, a financially struggling college student, behind the wheel of a beat-up pickup truck. I couldn’t afford to lose the little money I had or my phone. Without hesitation, I sprinted towards the nearby forest. Although petite, I possessed speed and agility. Glancing back, I noticed he was hot on my heels. Once I had entered the woods, I weaved through the trees, employing a zigzag pattern until it appeared I had eluded him. Taking refuge behind a massive tree, I paused to catch my breath. As he drew nearer, I muffled my breathing. It was then that I overheard him utter, “I’ll kill you, you…”

I couldn’t discern whether he uttered those words in a fit of anger or with the intention of making sure I heard them, but I was paralyzed by fear. Even as I heard his footsteps recede, I remained immobile. In fact, I maintained this stance throughout the night, eventually finding refuge behind a towering tree until dawn.

I returned to the highway where I had parked my truck, only to find that the vehicle behind me had disappeared. Both of my truck’s doors were wide open. It became evident that someone had rifled through my glove box, leaving it devoid of anything of even minor value. Additionally, my flannel hoodie was missing, and I’m certain there was something in the pocket.

After successfully flagging down a helpful stranger, they generously offered me a lift to the nearest gas station. There, I purchased a fuel can, filled it with gasoline, and the kind individual drove me back to my vehicle. I used the fuel to top up my tank sufficiently to reach a gas station for a full refill before heading straight home.

This was a valuable real-life lesson that taught me about the existence of individuals with malicious intentions who may exploit vulnerability. However, it also reaffirmed my belief in the presence of kind-hearted individuals, exemplified by the man who offered his assistance.

Story 2

At the age of 18, I was incredibly immature and naive. I regretfully admit that I often displayed impolite behavior while driving, such as excessive honking and occasionally cutting off other drivers due to impatience. Reflecting on those days, I now realize how foolish my actions were. If I ever become a parent, I’ll definitely be stricter with my children when it comes to their driving habits.

However, it’s worth noting that I did a significant amount of driving for someone of my age. I attended school five hours away from home, and regardless of the day of the week, traffic always became unbearable as I neared my hometown. To avoid this, I would often make the journey back home at night during breaks, reducing what would normally be a 4 to 5-hour drive down to just 3 hours.

Winter break had just begun following the conclusion of the fall semester. On the same day, all my friends had departed for their respective homes. I chose to wait until later in the evening to leave, as I had a strong aversion to dealing with traffic. Back then, I owned a Mazda 3, a vehicle I relentlessly pushed to its limits. I must admit, I had a reputation for consistently driving it until it was nearly out of gas. Whenever someone rode with me, they would inevitably comment on the low fuel level, and I would always confidently assure them that the car could still travel at least 30 more miles even after the fuel gauge had reached “E.”

I discovered my mistake as I drove home from school one night. I was only about an hour into my journey on the interstate. The fuel gauge was hovering near “E,” and I was taking a chance, hoping to spot a gas station sign instead of consulting the nearest one on the map. Suddenly, the car began making unusual noises and jerking, and that’s when it dawned on me that I might have completely depleted the gas tank this time.

I took the first exit ramp, praying it would guide me to a nearby gas station. However, this exit proved to be shrouded in darkness, lacking any streetlights, with dense woods on both sides. I hesitated to reduce my speed, fearing that I might run out of gas before reaching a station. Without stopping, I disregarded the stop sign at the end of the ramp and executed a sharp left turn onto the intersecting road, which too was enveloped in darkness and surrounded by woods. I found myself in a precarious situation.

The car eventually came to a halt, its engine sputtering to a stop. My situation took a turn for the worse when I pulled out my phone, only to find that I had no cellular signal. Being a T-Mobile customer, I was painfully aware of its less-than-ideal coverage, particularly in remote areas far from major cities. In a moment of desperation, I attempted to call 911, mistakenly assuming it would work without signal, but, as expected, it didn’t. Panic started to set in as I grappled with not knowing what steps to take next. With a sense of unease, I activated my hazard lights and patiently awaited any passerby who might offer assistance.

It took a while before I spotted headlights in the distance. When they finally came into view, I signaled with my own headlights, and the approaching vehicle passed me, executed a U-turn, and parked on the grass behind me. At that moment, I had no idea who would step out of that car. I was just an 18-year-old, feeling vulnerable. I cautiously lowered the window a crack as a man approached my car. I explained that I had run out of gas and needed help. He kindly offered to give me a ride to the nearest gas station. He was a bald man with glasses, and he seemed trustworthy. Given my limited options, I reluctantly accepted his offer.

I exited my vehicle and trailed behind him to his car, taking the precaution of locking my doors first. His vehicle was a sleek black Honda, likely a 2010 model. As I entered his car, a peculiar scent filled the air; I couldn’t quite identify the source of the odor. He executed a U-turn and resumed driving in the original direction. During the journey, he engaged me in conversation, inquiring about my hometown and asking basic questions. I candidly mentioned that I was on my way home from school. He revealed that he resided in the area and shared that their tranquil little town didn’t often see many out-of-towners exiting the interstate.”

The path we were traveling along had no buildings in sight, just dense woods all around. I inquired if he was aware of any nearby gas stations, to which he replied, ‘Yes, there’s one just a bit further up the road.’ As we continued, I began to hear unsettling noises emanating from the rear of the vehicle, resembling a series of bumps and thumps, seemingly originating from the trunk. Initially, I attributed it to the uneven terrain or a loose item in the trunk. However, he maintained a constant stream of conversation that showed no signs of letting up

At last, we arrived at what appeared to be a town-like setting. There, to our relief, we spotted some illuminated buildings—a diner and a handful of quaint houses. As we reached the first intersection since I’d entered his car, a red traffic light forced us to a halt. For the very first time, a silence descended upon us, only to be shattered by the chilling and unmistakable sound of someone screaming from the trunk, accompanied by a series of unsettling thumps and bangs.

I locked eyes with the man, and in an instant, I swiftly released my seatbelt, flung open the door, and sprinted away. Simultaneously, he reached out, attempting to seize me and yank me back into the vehicle. I heard him exit the car too, but rather than pursuing me, he hastened to shut his passenger-side door. Afterward, I could hear the engine roar as he accelerated down the street.

I rushed into the diner, causing a commotion as I desperately sought assistance. I promptly borrowed their phone to dial 911. I remained at the diner, and the situation escalated as several police officers arrived to compile a comprehensive report. This was due to the seriousness of my claim, in which I reported hearing a person trapped in the car’s trunk. They meticulously gathered every piece of information from me, including details about the man’s vehicle, his physical features, and the location where he had picked me up.

I was also offered a ride back to my car so that they could include the pickup location in the report. They also assisted me in contacting AAA, which would eventually dispatch a service vehicle to fill my car with gas. Certainly, unquestionably, this marked the most fear-inducing encounter in my existence. I was profoundly shaken. Throughout the entire journey back home, I held onto the hope that they had apprehended that man. I pray that whoever was in that trunk is still alive today. For all I know, that man could have been taking me to his residence or some other place, and I was simply fortunate to have had the opportunity to escape at that red light.

Story 3

I reside in Morganton, located in Burke County, North Carolina, where I’ve grown accustomed to the tranquil way of life that accompanies rural living. Occasionally, we encounter some eccentric individuals, but it’s generally quite manageable. My husband and I are proud owners of a lovely parcel of land. My work schedule varies; I switch between daytime and nighttime shifts. The incident I’m about to recount took place at around 3:00 a.m. as I was heading home after completing a night shift.

My phone’s battery was on the brink of dying. I felt a combination of hunger and exhaustion, yearning for a meal and the comfort of my home. I decided to make a pit stop at the gas station, purchasing $10 worth of fuel and a pre-packaged sandwich. I savored my meal inside the gas station cafe, all the while noticing a suspicious individual who kept a watchful eye on me, only to eventually leave the premises without making a purchase. After my brief meal, I stepped outside to refuel my car, and I couldn’t help but notice an unusually strong scent of gasoline. The night had fallen, and the roads were dimly lit and serpentine, prompting me to drive cautiously, especially since fatigue had set in after a long day at work.

Suddenly, a surprising turn of events unfolded: the gas gauge’s needle plummeted to ‘E,’ and the low fuel warning light illuminated with an accompanying beep. Utterly bewildered, I found myself in a state of confusion. I’ve never been particularly automobile-savvy, and prior to this moment, I’d never experienced the misfortune of running out of gas. To make matters even more perplexing, the needle had dramatically dipped without warning. Initially suspecting a computer glitch, I cautiously pulled over and attempted to reboot the car, only to find the gauge stubbornly stuck on ‘E.’ Reluctantly, I tried to resume driving, but the engine sputtered to a halt. Panic overcame me, and without hesitation, I dialed my husband, offering a silent prayer that he would answer. Frantically, I inquired how it was possible for my car to run out of gas right after I’d refueled, and as I exited the vehicle, I detected the unmistakable odor of gasoline. Sharing this troubling revelation with him, my husband deduced the presence of a leak. He assured me he would come to my aid and promptly contact our roadside assistance provider.

But then, I heard the approach of a car without any headlights. Suddenly, it came to a halt not far from my own vehicle. It dawned on me to bring up the unsettling individual I had noticed at the gas station, and I asked my husband if there was a possibility that he had tampered with our car. My husband’s demeanor swiftly shifted to one of concern and apprehension. He replied, ‘Yes, there’s a chance he might have tampered with the fuel line.’ I wasn’t entirely sure what that meant, but all I knew was that I had to act quickly. I removed the keys from the ignition, closed and locked the car door to extinguish the headlights. With my phone barely holding a 2% charge, I instructed my husband to text me once he was nearby.

I veered off the road and made a beeline for the nearest house I could spot. Racing down the lengthy driveway, I approached the front door of the property. All the lights within the house remained shrouded in darkness, yet I persistently rang the doorbell multiple times. Gradually, a beam of light penetrated the obscurity as one of the lights inside flickered to life, and soon after, the door creaked open. A man in his sixties, looking like he had just been roused from sleep, greeted me at the door. I implored him to grant me refuge and allow me to charge my phone. After a brief explanation, he swung the door wide open and ushered me inside. Requesting an iPhone charger, I was informed that he would search for one and then instructed to make myself comfortable in the living room. As I settled into a seat, still clad in my nurse scrubs, a whirlwind of emotions surged within me.

From the kitchen, a man’s voice called out, inquiring if I desired a glass of water. I replied, “Yes, please.” Little did he realize that I had spotted his reflection in a mirror in the living room, providing a view of the kitchen. I witnessed him pouring water into a glass, and to my surprise, I observed him adding something to it. He left the mirror’s sight, but the sound of the running faucet continued for a good 30 seconds before he shut it off. Returning to the living room, he presented me with the glass of water. I expressed my gratitude, and he took a seat, fixing his gaze on me. Then, he requested an explanation of the situation once more. I responded, “I really need a charger to contact my husband.”

He agreed with a curt ‘Alright’ before heading upstairs. I glanced at my phone, and it displayed a meager 1% charge. I used that last bit of battery to discreetly share my current location with my husband, as a precaution. Next, I cautiously sniffed the glass of water and, although it bore no discernible scent, my intuition told me he had tampered with it. Now, I faced a dilemma: should I depart and prioritize charging my phone, or stay, knowing with near certainty that the water had been tainted?

I heard his footsteps descending the stairs, and he mentioned that he didn’t possess any iPhone chargers due to his use of an Android device. Upon hearing this, I promptly rose from my seat and made a beeline for the exit. I wasn’t about to be naive. Once outdoors, I sprinted down the driveway towards the road, a queasy feeling churning in my stomach. It was unfathomable that two separate unsettling encounters with different men had occurred in a single night. I discreetly moved along the roadside, taking cover behind the trees. Retrieving my phone, I quickly sent an updated location, just as my battery reached its critical depletion point.

I anxiously waited until I spotted the familiar headlights of my husband’s truck. Rushing outside, I waved my arms in relief, and to my immense relief, it was indeed him. Climbing into the truck, I couldn’t contain my emotions any longer and began to pour my heart out, tearfully recounting the harrowing experience I had just endured. He drove us to my car, but there was no longer a vehicle parked behind it. The rear window had been shattered, and it appeared that someone had gained access to the back seat, though there was nothing of significant value left in my car to steal. To make matters worse, my car’s battery was now dead. As I shared with my husband the unsettling encounter with the man who had attempted to potentially drug me, he was consumed by anger. He was eager to confront the man, but I reasoned, “No, let’s wait for the tow truck to arrive.”

We endured a considerable wait before it finally arrived. My car was subsequently towed to my dealership, where they planned to inspect it the following day. My husband’s suspicions were confirmed: my car had been vandalized, with the fuel line being deliberately severed. I felt fortunate to have the next few days off, as I needed time to emotionally recuperate from the events of that night. The fact that I came close to encountering sketchy individuals twice in one night was something I found hard to overcome.

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