Urban Legends

Gas Pump Needles

The Legend

Found on the Internet in May 2000

My name is Captain Abraham Lincoln "George" Sands of the Jackolanternville, Florida Police Department. I have been asked by both federal authorities and by divine providence to write to you today, via computer, to bring a warning to drivers, friends of drivers, and those who drive about a dangerous prank that is being perpetrated in many states and is only funny to those of us to whom it has not occurred.

Some person, persons, party, parties, group, or loose affiliation has been affixing hypodermic needles to the underside of gas pump handles using any of a myriad (e.g., variety) of means, including common tape such as could be purchased in a grocery or stationery store. These needles appear to be infused with a powerful narcotic, rendering those accidentally pricked instantly unconscious. In the Jackolanternville area alone there have been seventeen cases of people being jabbed by these nefarious devices. The U.S. Center for Mischief Control and Prevention has verified reports of at least a dozen others in various states across the United States.

In many of these cases, the person rendered unconscious has hit their head after falling and gotten a nasty bump. Often their cars have continued to fill with gas, only stopping when the automatic shutoff is triggered despite the fact that the customer only wished to purchase a couple of gallons. And in every case, the innocent victim has woken to discover that they are lying in a pile of ice cubes, someone has written "Call 911" on the gas pump in lipstick, and one or more of their kidneys is missing. Several people have had money stolen as well.

It is believed that these may be copycat incidents due to someone reading about the crimes on an "urban legend" exposure site or seeing them reported on the television ("TV"). At this point no one has been arrested because no state in the country has a specific law against stealing human organs at a gas station, so law enforcement's hands are largely tied.

To protect yourself from harm, it is recommended that, if you find yourself faced with a gas pump handle that has a needle taped beneath it, you CAREFULLY AVOID PRICKING YOURSELF WITH THE NEEDLE. This simple precaution will help you avoid a horrible fate. If Sleeping Beauty had shown such care with the needle on that spinning wheel, she would have her kidneys today.

If you do find a needle affixed to one, immediately contact someone familiar with syringes, such as a police officer, medical technician, or heroine addict.

Behind the Legend

This horrible crime has enjoyed a resurgence in recent years, thanks to the burgeoning market for kidneys and the large percentage of gas-station customers who have them. In order to protect yourself from this attack, you should take a number of steps in addition to looking for needles on gas pump handles. For example:

  • Don't get gasoline at a station where people are hanging around in medical garb.
  • If you are traveling with children and stop to get gas, tell the kids to call the police if they notice anyone performing surgery on you.
  • Avoid gas stations where large quantities of ice are readily available.
  • Consider petitioning your local government to pass laws such as those in many other states making tape illegal. If criminals are forced to use string or other obvious fasteners, their evil handiwork will be that much harder to hide.
  • If you experience a moment of unconsciousness at a filling station or find yourself on the ground when the last thing you remember is that you were standing, before you do anything else, check your kidneys.

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