Free gas giveaway at North City gas station prompts traffic control

Published: Mar. 9, 2022 at 11:33 AM CST
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ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV) - Drivers wrapped around the 900 block of North Kingshighway near a BP gas station in north St. Louis Wednesday afternoon, all for the opportunity to get free gas.

“You know it’s really been hard now, especially as a single mother with these gas prices going up,” said St. Louis resident Marissa Dear. “It’s hard.”

The free gas was courtesy of the owners of a daycare called My Mother’s Roots located in the Baden neighborhood in North City. Gwendolyn Wrice, one of the owners, tells News 4 off camera she wanted to do something to help her community amid rising gas prices because of the ongoing conflict between Russia and the Ukraine. She says god spoke to her about finding a way to give back.

“And the way that she wanted to give back to the community is she wanted to give $5,000 dollars at one location and $5,000 at at another location,” said Harlan Smith, Wrice’s brother.

The other location off Jennings Station Road in North city and the one on 930 N Kingshighway were advertised on social media.

“A friend of mine texted me, letting me know they were giving away free gas and I looked on my phone and headed over here,” said Laurie Levy.

“I wish I had seen it yesterday because I just put my last little 20 dollars in last night,” said Taniya Williams. “I’m real grateful for sure.”

People lined up as early as 9:30 a.m. and spent up to an hour in some cases in line for the chance at getting free gas.

“They appreciate it. St. Louis is doing a wonderful job showing that they’re blessed,” said Smith.

Eventually, the group of organizers pitched in another $2,000 dollars to fill up more tanks, as the demand continue to grow throughout the day. In total, the daycare gave out $12,000 dollars towards gas, filling up roughly $30 worth of gas per car.

News 4 crews spotted St. Louis City Police directing traffic for the gas giveaway. It caused a standstill for drivers in the area as people rush to score a tank of gas. Smith says they are apologetic that this potentially caused some traffic headaches throughout the morning, but they feel like it went relatively smoothly with the help of both gas stations and police assisting with traffic.

They do not plan on doing any more free gas giveaways for now, but they hope this will inspire other people to give back at the pump.

“We’re challenging other people to return the favor to other people. If you can put gas in your car, but you can afford it, then put it in someone else’s car,” said Smith.

Police said the gas giveaway caused a huge traffic jam around the BP. Officers responded to a 5-car accident at North Kingshighway and Suburban Tracks near the gas station around 9:40 a.m. The Traffic Safety Division was then requested to help divert all the traffic, which police said was managed successfully.