Richmond gas station to give away free fuel - NBC12 - WWBT - Richmond, VA News On Your Side

Richmond gas station to give away free fuel

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) -

A north Richmond gas station is preparing to give away free gas to its customers this weekend but there's an interesting catch. The gas give-away is part of the Exxon on Chamberlayne Avenue's Customer Appreciation Day but the gas giveaway is also connected to a much bigger effort -- fighting sexually transmitted infections, so customers will be asked to get tested on the spot.

The business owner says he just wants the neighborhood to know he cares and in doing so, he's hoping to create safer and healthier communities.

"We've done business in this neighborhood over two decades," said Asmat Ali.

It's why the convenience store owner is giving away gasoline Saturday. His first 100 customers will get a free $5 gift card.

"I love that. That's a good idea," said shopper Lamar Bowling.

"With the economy the way it is right now, people could use a break," said shopper Kevin Jones.

When customers come in Saturday to purchase gas in any amount, $2 or even $20, you're automatically registered to win $500 in free gas.

"Who is paying for this? We pay for it. That's a lot of money that you're dishing out. Yes, but we have to give back to the community," Ali told NBC12.

It comes with one condition. Customers are encouraged to get a free on-site STD test offered by the Richmond Health Department.

"It's a need for testing in that area," said Zakia McKensey with the Health Department.

She says nearly 60% of people who come in for an STD test, usually test positive for some type of infection. Many were unaware they were even at risk. Early treatment can help save lives.

"The prevalence of disease in the city of Richmond is increasing and if you don't get tested, you won't know your status," McKensey said.

With confidential testing coming straight to the community, the Exxon store wants to be the driving force in keeping people healthy and a little richer - while changing the image of the Northside.

"The neighborhood has a bad reputation in years past, prostitution…A nice community lives around here and people care about each other," Ali said.

The event Saturday will feature free food and activities for the kids. Get there early to avoid long lines. It will be held from 2 p.m. until 6 p.m. at 2607 Chamberlayne Avenue.

Copyright 2013 WWBT NBC12.  All rights reserved.

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