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I’m 73 and standing in the rain pumping gas into my Rolls. I know, a lot of people would love to have this problem.

But this once was a full service station where I came for over 30 years. Mark would pump gas, clean the windshield, and talk to me about the Patriots, the Celtics, cars, and stuff in general. He once showed me how my Aston Martin gas cap was forged from a single piece of metal, very unusual. When our car nearly slid into our lake one wintry day, Mark dispatched the station’s tow truck to pull it to safety.

Now it’s a mini-mart, and Mark has retired. The mechanic once on duty readily obtained a job with a local auto dealership. There’s a woman in the building who can take cash payments and sell you chips and soda.

Artificial intelligence and automation have their place, but when they replace human interactions we’re generally the poorer for it. The Patriots won still another Super Bowl in February, and I would have great enjoyed discussing the game with Mark. I don’t mind getting wet, it’s just kind of lonely.

Written by

Alan Weiss is a consultant, speaker, and author of over 60 books. His consulting firm, Summit Consulting Group, Inc., has attracted clients from over 500 leading organizations around the world.

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