Sex, blood and baby names: U.S. mad for free gas

NEW YORK Fri Jul 18, 2008 10:41am EDT

A gas station owner holds on to the money given to him by a customer to prepay for fuel at his station in Arlington, Virginia, June 11, 2008. REUTERS/Jim Young

A gas station owner holds on to the money given to him by a customer to prepay for fuel at his station in Arlington, Virginia, June 11, 2008.

Credit: Reuters/Jim Young

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NEW YORK (Reuters) - Some U.S. motorists sick of getting clobbered at the pump seem willing to do just about anything for free fuel, from giving up the right to name their children to stealing from day-care centers to donating blood.

In Orlando, Florida, David Partin pledged to name his son after local radio hosts to win a $100 gas card as part of a contest. Partin will collect the card in December, when his son is born, if he can produce a birth certificate proving the baby is named Dixon Willoughby Partin, after the hosts.

"(His wife said) this is his problem to explain when the child is older," Greg Stevens, WHTQ-FM program director told Reuters.

At the Shady Lady Ranch brothel in Beatty, Nevada, clients who spend $300 or more this month will receive $50 gas vouchers as part of a promotion to beat the summer slump in business.

"It's rocking along. We're doing quite well. June and July historically are not big months," said James Davis, who co-owns the ranch with his wife, Bobbi.

The first $1,000 in gas cards were given out within a week, he added.

In Mesquite, Texas, thieves drained $100 worth of gasoline from buses used by the Higher Ground Church day-care center and have hit four or five other church center fleets in the area.

"It was someone who was desperate," said James Green, the church's pastor. "All he had to do was come and ask us and we would have bought him a tank of gas."

The American Red Cross, meanwhile, is running a summer raffle where blood donors are eligible to win a year's supply of fuel.

At St. Ann's Parish in West Bridgewater, Massachusetts, the Rev. Edward McDonagh has decided to institute a drawing for a $50 gasoline card at weekly mass.

The drawings are symbolic gestures and not intended to boost attendance, he said.

"When Jesus was at the wedding feast of Cana, the groom ran out of wine, he produced the wine for them," he said. "In that spirit, we feel that this might be comparable."

(Editing by Michelle Nichols and Xavier Briand)

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