(3TV/CBS 5) - Hitting the road for a Memorial Day trip is going to hurt. AAA says gas prices have reached a four-year high.
But customers counting coins and coasting on fumes got some sweet relief when 3TV anchor Javier Soto offered to fill up their gas tanks and gave them $100 gift cards to fill up down the road.
“Hold on! Hold on! Hold on,” said Soto. “Ma’am how are you doing?”
“How you doing, brother,” asked Soto.
“Stop! Stop! Stop!” said Soto as he raced from customer to customer, to get their attention before they started pumping gas.
“I’m Javier Soto with Arizona’s Family Surprise Squad,” said Soto. “Can I fill up your tank for you right now?”
“Are you serious,” responded a veteran.
“I’m serious,” said Soto.
“This is like real,” asked the veteran.
“This is for real, man,” assured Soto. “We teamed up with QuikTrip and your Valley Toyota Dealers and we’re just trying to help out the community.”
“Are you on empty?” asked Soto.
“Uh, like, below it,” he answered.
“What are you headed downtown for?” asked Soto as he started filling the man’s gas tank.
“I gotta go to the VA clinic,” said the veteran.
“Veteran?” asked Soto.
“Yes, sir,” he confirmed.
“What branch?” asked Soto.
“Marine Corps,” said the veteran.
Soto asked each customer if it was hard coping with the rising gas prices.
“It’s actually pretty tough,” said a father of three.
“I drove further to come here because it’s 20 cents cheaper,” said one woman.
“It’s more out of your pocket. It’s more gas and less food,” said a man.
“I just became a single mom, so yeah,” said a mom with her young son.
“With gas prices climbing the way they have, how has it hampered you,” asked Soto, as he put gas in her car.
“It’s horrible. Horrible. Horrible. Horrible,” answered the mom. “His school isn’t close.”
With the tank full, the pump clicked off and Soto continued.
“It sounds like you’re struggling financially, and prices aren’t helping, so I want to give you that,” said Soto as he handed the mom a gift card.
“It’s a $100 gift card,” he tried to continue but the woman was so moved she hugged him before he was able to finish his sentence.
“Look it! You filled it all the way!” said another woman when her pump clicked off at $81.30.
“You were on empty, huh,” laughed Soto.
“Yes, I was,” she laughed back. “I can’t believe this. Oh, wow!”
“That’s a $100 gift card,” said Soto.
The woman was shocked and speechless.
“I know who you are. I watch you on TV,” one lady responded when Soto approached her.
“I see this on TV all the time and I say, ‘man, I wish I could be one of those people,’” she said.
“And here we are,” laughed Soto as he pumped her gas.
“I saw the gas prices just now and I was like, ‘oh my God,’” said the woman.
“We want to give you a $100 gift card to help you out,” said Soto.
“Wow,” she gasped.
“We give you full service. Let me pump your gas for you,” Soto said to another young mother.
“I’ve actually had problems with my car, too, so you guys really did make my morning,” said the woman.
“What are your plans for Memorial Day weekend,” asked Soto.
“Um, I don’t know. We might be in Prescott,” she answered.
“How about I make it free, that trip,” said Soto.
“You guys are going to make me cry this morning,” she said starting to tear up.
“Here’s a $100 gift card so that you and the family can enjoy a nice Memorial Day weekend,” said Soto.
“Can I give you a hug,” asked the young mother.
“Absolutely," said Soto.
Arizona’s Family Surprise Squad filled gas tanks and gave $100 gift cards to more than 24 QuikTrip customers.
“God bless you all,” said one grateful customer while another cheered “Go Channel 3!”
Thank you to QuikTrip for partnering with this surprise. Arizona’s Family Surprise Squad is powered by your Valley Toyota Dealers.