Home > Lankville Action News: YES! > Station’s a Gas for Area Youths

Station’s a Gas for Area Youths

Bernie Keebler

Bernie Keebler


There is a gas station in the Eastern Lankville Small Ponds Area that is described by its operator as “a financial disaster but at the same time a success.”

Located at the crossroads of the small pond community, the station, a faded white and orange concrete block building, bears the name “The Chariot Lodge”.

And the operator doesn’t grumble about car crazy youths hanging around- he encourages them.

“We needed a low-key ministry that was also a gas station to reach out to the youths of today,” noted 54-year old founder Rev. Plants Meulens, who has been minister of the nearby Small Ponds Church (located inside the mall) for the past six years.


Chariot Lodge owner and operator Plants Meulens (he’s the guy in the car).

Meulens says that the need became critical a few years ago when a large proportion of the Small Ponds Area contracted venereal disease.

“There was a ton of venereal disease. [President] Pondicherry even called at one point asking me what was going on. He said- why do you have so much venereal disease, Plants? I had nothing to tell him.”

“There were also a lot of fires around that time,” Meulens added.

His idea of starting a teen-age service station was supported by five other churches inside of malls.

“The clergymen really loved it because cars and youths just go together. But you don’t hear so much about cars and venereal disease although maybe sometimes, I guess,” Meulens noted.

Just Loafin': Area Youths Keither Turley and Gina Quaint.

Just Loafin’: Area Youths Keither Turley and Gina Quaint.

A non-profit organization was established and the Chariot Lodge was leased from a local decorative ham concern for $1200 a month.

The lodge quickly became a favorite hang-out of Small Pond Area youths.

“They love it,” said volunteer adult supervisor Mrs. Annette Bounds. “All kids are worth the effort. If you can keep them in the office of a gas station rather than out there getting venereal disease, well, then it’s all been worth it.”

Detective Gee-Temple noted that the Bureau of Probes responds to far fewer calls in the Small Pond Area.

“We have very little trouble with the Chariot Cabin [sic]. Plants has done a real good job up there.”

But the operation is not without problems points out Rev. Meulens.

“We’ve had some damage to some of the pumps, we don’t have any advertising budget and there is no toilet,” Meulens said. “Plus, we’re a complete financial disaster just oozing money because we have to depend solely on charity.”

“If all the parents of the kids who spend their time here would just buy some gas…” Meulens added before suddenly stomping off into some weeds. When he returned, the reverend noted, “if that happened, well, then maybe we’d go from the red to the black.”

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