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The independent gas station and repair shop, where the guys come running to fair maidens and put air in their tires and listen to the noises under the hood and don’t charge anything, are rare and wonderful.
George Jett’s BP, at the corner of Markham and Johnson streets, a runner up in our auto service category, is one of the things that’s best about living in Hillcrest. Jett — who said he recently turned down a lot of money from someone who wanted to buy his shop because he didn’t think the neighborhood would appreciate the new business — will not only fix your brakes, consult with you on where to get body work done cheap, steer you to a muffler dealer and listen to your personal problems, he’ll sell your heap for a minimal charge that’s well worth it.
He’s seen it all in the 14 years he’s owned the shop. Like the time the lady came in because her car made a terrible noise when she went over 30 mph. They revved it, and sure enough, it made a sound. Under the hood, they found a kitten, alive but mad, who’d crawled up into the front left wheel well.
Then there was the time a lady (it’s always a lady) came in to have the weird sound from her dash checked out. Jett popped out the glove box and found a boa constrictor wedged behind it. He called the owners, and they made their 7-year-old son — who hadn’t told them the snake had gotten loose in the car — come extract his pet from the car.
“I hate snakes,” Jett said. But he loves the neighborhood: “The neighbors have backed me 100 percent. … We’re never going anywhere.”