GREENVILLE, S.C. – A national gas station’s safety program is gaining attention on social media.
QuikTrip’s “Safe Place” program has been around for decades, but recently, people have been raising awareness to the program designed for people under the age of 18 on shared Facebook links.
“We get troubled teens in here whether it’s from physical abuse, substance abuse, or they’re running away and have nowhere else to go,” Greenville’s North Pleasantburg QuikTrip Store Manager, Steve Ewers said.
Employees with QuikTrip said their gas stations are good places for the program because of their convenience. In the city of Greenville, people may not see a big sign suggesting that the gas station is a safe place because of city laws, but there will be a sticker on the door. All troubled teens have to do is walk into the store, go to the counter, and ask if it’s a safe place. Then, the trained clerks will call for help while the teen waits in a secure location.
“We’re open 24 hours a day,” Ewers said. “We’ve got lots of lights on. We’ve got police in here all the time if there is a dangerous situation.”
Now, all the company needs is an Upstate organization to be their community partner, so response times will decrease, and they’ll be able to offer assistance to the teens at a faster rate. In cities that have designated non-profits or organizations they work with, it takes around 15 to 20 minutes for help to arrive.
They want to work to make this program more well-known in the Upstate. Many people said they didn’t know about it but are glad the community has the resource.
“You’ve got a lot of kids who are going through a lot of things, and they feel like there is nowhere for them to go…if they know about this, it gives them somewhere they can go and feel safe,” said Bertha Evins, a Greenville mother of five.
Ewers said he has never had to use the program at his station, but there have been plenty stores in the Upstate where the program has been successful.
“We don’t get involved with knowing what the situation is,” Ewers said. “All we do is get them in touch with the people who can help.”
QuikTrips across the country help around a thousand teens each year.