Mehdi Shahbazi once pumped Shell Oil gasoline for 37 years for a privately owned gas station in Marina California. After Hurricane Katrina, he recognized that oil companies were making an enormous profit on the backs of consumers. This was what he considered un-earned profits that were taking advantage of the average consumer. He fought back
Mehdi started with a wooded sign at his station that said “Consumers’ pain is Big Oil’s unearned profit! To oppose it see cashier.”
Not surprising, Shell fought back and closed down the pumps (the part they did own) and put a fence around them.
The battle lasted for months. He lost his condo, his business and his savings trying to fight for his freedom of speech and against the corruption of Big Oil. He set up a website to help spread his message to the average consumer called pumpinmad.com.
In a last ditch effort, he began a hunger strike last June. The liquid only diet was tough on the 65-year-old and ended with his death in August.
I personally met him last fall when I stopped in to buy a soda from his store (pumps were closed but he maintained the store). Turned out his power was off so he couldn’t take a credit card. He told me to take the soda and pay him next time I was in town! This from a guy who was living in his van because of near bankruptcy.
Whether you believe in his message and his fight against corporate corruption or not, at least recognize his dedication. He fought to the end.