Two Fairbanks business owners pay it forward with the gift of gasoline

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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) On April 23th, Jon Odsather and Mike Simard started a pay-it-forward program by buying gasoline for people in the community. Setting up shop at the Simard Automotive Chevron on the corner of Barnette St. and Gaffney Rd., the two Fairbanks residents bought gasoline for everyone who stopped in.

Cars lined the streets leading to Simard Automotive Chevron. (Alex Bengel/KTVF)

Odsather, the owner of Fairbanks Stump Grinders, said, “We’re just here to help Fairbanks. The governor’s starting to relax things with different businesses in town and we’re here to celebrate and help Fairbanks get over some of the pains of not working.”

The community responded in large numbers. “It’s awesome. We’ve had a line going all three directions and we’ve been pumping gas, checking oil and washing windows just at a high rate of fuel consumption,” Odsather said.

Odsather said he was inspired to pay it forward when he was helped by a friend at a time when he needed it, and that’s the attitude he hopes to inspire in the community. “Fairbanks has been very receptive to this. I’m proud of it,” he said.

Mike Simard, owner of Simard Automotive, explained his motive for getting involved, saying, “It’s spring time. We need to do something to give back to Fairbanks. We don’t really want anything in return. We just want to do something for the community, and we’ve had a great showing today.”

Simard also commented on the turnout. He said, “I think we’ve probably pumped a few thousand gallons today pretty easily. So it’s not really about the money, it’s just about doing something good for the community.”

The two paid for gas pumped between 2:45 and 4:30. During that time, cars lined the streets nearby. “Everybody was extremely, extremely excited and thankful that we were doing this for them,” Simard said.

Fairbanks Stump Grinders and Simard Automotive are splitting the cost of the event evenly.

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