Now this is cool
- An unsuspecting customer pulls up to the drive-through window. But instead
of a store clerk, up pop two paws, deep brown eyes and the
tongue-flapping grin of a happy chocolate Labrador retriever named Cody.
Kids in the back seats of minivans often squeal with joy. Even the usually
stony faces of gruff construction worker-types can't help but crack a
smile under the dog's unpretentious greeting.
"He hears the bell and goes running. When he pops up, that sets it off,"
said Karim Mansour, the store's and dog's owner. "Uncontrollable giggling."
The only thing that tops Cody's enthusiasm for a customer, is a customer
who has a dog with him.
It all started one day five months ago when Mansour decided to bring his
dog to work. He didn't think much of it at the time..” he just wanted to
have his best friend with him while he worked the sometimes slow, and
occasionally, dangerous, early morning shift. The dog was given free rein of the
store, and as a joke, Mansour put a shirt with a BP logo on the dog, and
gave him a name tag.
"While he's here, he's an employee. My rule is, all employees need to wear
the shirt", Mansour said. Without trying, Cody, always eager to greet any
friendly stranger, quickly became a celebrity among store regulars.
"The first time I saw him, he had his tail just waggin' and waggin'," said
Richard Mealey, who comes in a few times a week. "I love dogs. He's
But the best part might be the double-takes the dog elicits at the
drive-through window. "Oh, he's adorable", said customer Candy Thompson when
greeted at the window by Cody. "Oh, he's such a big lover."
Photo shoots with cell phone cameras from the drive-through window are
But the BP station is also like most other convenience stores..a sometimes
strange melting pot of people from every class and creed, who at any given
time could be going through some rough emotion. For those customers, Cody
is the solution. He can do what the normal gas station clerk usually
"Convenience stores are so unpredictable. People come in drunk, stoned,
angry, you name it," Mansour said. "He calms them down. Animals have the
ability to soothe the human soul." (Amen! Amen!)
Earlier this year, a woman who had been fighting with her husband came
into the station. "She came in with all sorts of bawling and crying",
Mansour said. Cody, sensing something wasn't right, went to the woman. She put
her face next to his, and sat on the floor with him. After several minutes
talking to Cody, the woman pulled herself together. "By the time she was
done petting him, she'd stopped crying and seemed a lot better. 'Finally,' she
must have thought, 'someone who listens and doesn't talk back'," Mansour
Ironically, Mansour acquired Cody three years ago when an acquaintance,
who was going through a divorce, could no longer take care of him.
Since Cody's following has grown, Mansour said he has also seen a slight
uptick in customer retention” a boon, considering his business has seen a
slump in recent months.
“People might come the extra half-mile or so to get the more personal
service” or just to see the dog, he said. "In a dog-eat-dog world, when our
economy sucks and business is hard, you've got to find a way to stand out."
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