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Tijuana gas station clerk stiffed, dies on El Pacifico busy street

Did not follow protocol, says Arco

El Pacifico Arco - Image by Crisstian Villicana
El Pacifico Arco

In the early morning of November 15, Berenice Rebolledo got an unexpected call from an unknown person asking if she was Ruben Valencia's wife. The person told her that something had happened to her husband while working on his night shift at an Arco gas station and that someone would go to her house to talk to her.

Berenice couldn't wait; she called one of Ruben's co-workers to ask about him. “I felt like everything fell down inside of me. She told me that my husband was dead. I just remember I got out of my house and ran over to the gas station."

Ruben went through a similar situation before, and the company was taking off part of his weekly wages.

She made her way to the gas station, which is located in the same neighborhood they live in –El Pacifico, an industrial area about nine miles southeast of Tijuana's downtown. There, she heard how Ruben died. According to information from the prosecutor's office, Ruben was dragged by a vehicle several yards when trying to stop a driver that attempted to get away without paying the equivalent of $38 USD on gas.

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He fell in the middle of a high-speed boulevard, Libramiento Sur, and lost his life after in the onslaught of cars in a section of the road that has no proper public lightning. Ruben and his family are relatively new to the city. He was a policeman in the state of Morelos and came to Tijuana to save money to return and fix up their own house, but now Berenice is struggling to pay for transportation of her husband's remains.

Gas stations in Tijuana hire clerks to charge customers in cash, the most common way of paying. This policy forces the clerk to pay from his own pocket when they are robbed or short-paid by drivers. Ruben went through a similar situation before, Berenice says, and the company was taking off part of his weekly wages to pay off his amount owed under this system.

“That's totally unfair; my husband was really honest and such a good worker, a wonderful human being, and a great father for the four children he left behind. They gave us 30,000 pesos ($1,500 USD) and nothing more because they have no life insurance for their employees. What am I supposed to do with that? Anyways, no money will give us Ruben back; the only thing he was always worried about is to give the kids everything because they needed it.”

A worker from the same gas station who preferred not to be identified said that all clerks started raising funds and gathered up to 89 thousand pesos ($4,680 USD). “We are doing it on our own and with help of customers. Nothing is coming from the company. We wanted to get organized, but we can't afford to be fired and have no job. We want justice for our co-workers and accountability from the company.”

The company's operation director, Gabriel Arellano, stated to local news outlets that Ruben did not follow their security protocols, which is taking money beforehand.

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El Pacifico Arco - Image by Crisstian Villicana
El Pacifico Arco

In the early morning of November 15, Berenice Rebolledo got an unexpected call from an unknown person asking if she was Ruben Valencia's wife. The person told her that something had happened to her husband while working on his night shift at an Arco gas station and that someone would go to her house to talk to her.

Berenice couldn't wait; she called one of Ruben's co-workers to ask about him. “I felt like everything fell down inside of me. She told me that my husband was dead. I just remember I got out of my house and ran over to the gas station."

Ruben went through a similar situation before, and the company was taking off part of his weekly wages.

She made her way to the gas station, which is located in the same neighborhood they live in –El Pacifico, an industrial area about nine miles southeast of Tijuana's downtown. There, she heard how Ruben died. According to information from the prosecutor's office, Ruben was dragged by a vehicle several yards when trying to stop a driver that attempted to get away without paying the equivalent of $38 USD on gas.

Sponsored
Sponsored

He fell in the middle of a high-speed boulevard, Libramiento Sur, and lost his life after in the onslaught of cars in a section of the road that has no proper public lightning. Ruben and his family are relatively new to the city. He was a policeman in the state of Morelos and came to Tijuana to save money to return and fix up their own house, but now Berenice is struggling to pay for transportation of her husband's remains.

Gas stations in Tijuana hire clerks to charge customers in cash, the most common way of paying. This policy forces the clerk to pay from his own pocket when they are robbed or short-paid by drivers. Ruben went through a similar situation before, Berenice says, and the company was taking off part of his weekly wages to pay off his amount owed under this system.

“That's totally unfair; my husband was really honest and such a good worker, a wonderful human being, and a great father for the four children he left behind. They gave us 30,000 pesos ($1,500 USD) and nothing more because they have no life insurance for their employees. What am I supposed to do with that? Anyways, no money will give us Ruben back; the only thing he was always worried about is to give the kids everything because they needed it.”

A worker from the same gas station who preferred not to be identified said that all clerks started raising funds and gathered up to 89 thousand pesos ($4,680 USD). “We are doing it on our own and with help of customers. Nothing is coming from the company. We wanted to get organized, but we can't afford to be fired and have no job. We want justice for our co-workers and accountability from the company.”

The company's operation director, Gabriel Arellano, stated to local news outlets that Ruben did not follow their security protocols, which is taking money beforehand.

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