Back when I lived in Toronto, my regular gas station was downtown on Jarvis Street and back in those days, it was a full serve station. I loved that station. The staff was always super-friendly – even on those cold, slushy Toronto days. I loved not having to get out of my car to fill up.
For me, going to a full serve station was a delightful convenience. But for some members of our community, full serve is a necessity. In recognition of International Day of Persons with Disabilities, we connected with a couple of our Associates at our full serve stations to talk about the role they play for our guests with disabilities.
Meet Fred Vanier from Fred’s Big Chief Petro-Canada in Tecumseh, ON and Bara Soma from his Streetsville, Mississauga, ON location.
Fred (front row, centre) and the Big Chief Crew
Bara (right) and a member of his team
PT: As you know, today (Dec 3) is the International Day of Persons with Disabilities. How do you and your team support persons with disabilities at your site?
Fred: We do have many customers with disabilities who regularly come for fuel and service. Our full serve crew is trained not only to serve fuel with all Petro-Canada’s fast and friendly service but also to wash windows and check engine oil/washer fluid, etc. - if customers wish to do so. Sometimes (serving a customer with a disability) is as simple as serving most other customers but on occasion our crew will go out of their way to help a customer in need if possible, for example using hand signals for hearing impaired or reading/communicating orders for someone who cannot speak.
Bara: As a Full-Service Gas station, my team is always there to help customers with pumping gas, cleaning windshields, topping up windshield washer fluids, checking oil, if requested by my customers and if possible and helping customers with getting air to tire if needed. I believe, when dealing with people with disabilities, they are looking for genuine support/help and not sympathy. As a team, we try our best to help them with their gasoline needs and any other services provided by our site. And we make sure to engage with our customers and help them feel at home.
PT: What has been the reaction from your customers?
Fred: Some of our regular customers will travel across the city or county to fill up the vehicle and we greet them smiling and with respect. Some have been coming to our site for over 20 years. They appreciate the great service and attitude. This is a true testimony that full-serve fuel is very important in a community.
Bara: We try to have an excellent relationship with our customer and it's not just about processing the transaction - when we see them, we talk about news and family. Sometimes, during the holidays, a few customers have given us small chocolate gifts to thank us for our support. We can see how happy they are at our site and the way they connected with us.
PT: Anything else you’d like to share with our readers?
Fred: I believe a small amount of extra effort and flexibility is necessary to support our guests with disabilities, but the customer satisfaction is well worth it.
Bara: I am not saying this because they are my customers, but I believe we have some of the best customers and we are very fortunate to know them. If we can support people with disabilities and listen to their feedback, it benefits them and helps our business improve.
Thanks, Fred and Bara for sharing the great service your teams provide the community. The service from teams like Fred’s and Bara’s are recognized across Petro-Canada. Ian Richardson, Director Retail Sales & Site Operations from our Central Region, says “We know that as a preferred fuel supplier in many communities, Petro-Canada has a key role to play in supporting all members of that community - including anyone with special needs. We're grateful to our team of skilled and committed operators at our full-serve locations that make this happen!”
We also spoke with Matt, from our Customer Service Network and asked how a guest with a disability could get the support they need at one of our sites. Matt suggested that calling ahead to the site, ideally with an approximate time, would help ensure that they get the support they need. The phone number for specific stations can be found in our station locator. You can also search for the closest full serve station nearest you.