Skip to content

Would You Fill Up Your Friend's Gas Tank?

Posted on:August 9, 2017 at 12:00 AM (3 min read)

During my no TV challenge (ending tomorrow!!), I began reading and finished Poor Charlie’s Almanack, the Wit and Wisdom of Charles T. Munger. On page 39, there is an excerpt from his son, Charles T. Munger, Junior. I’ve typed it out for you below!

Story from the book

”On the last day of a family ski vacation in Sun Valley when I was fifteen or so, my dad and I were driving back in the snow when he took a ten-minute detour to gas the red jeep we were driving. He was pressed for time to have our family catch the plane home, I was surprised to notice as he pulled into the station that the tank was still half-full. I asked my dad why we had stopped when we had plenty of gas, and he astonished me: “Charlie, when you borrow a man’s car, you always return it with a full tank of gas.” My freshman year at Stanford, an acquaintance lent me his  car, more because friends we had in common twisted his arm than that he knew me that well. The tank was half-full, and the Audi Fox was red. So I remember the jeep and topped the tank before I brought the car back. He noticed. We’ve had a lot of good times since, and he stood as a groomsman at my wedding. After Stanford, I learned that on that vacation we had been staying at Rick Geurin’s house and driving Rick Geurin’s jeep. Rick is one of my dad’s friends who, on his return to Sun Valley, certainty wouldn’t have been troubled, and was unlikely to notice if his jeep had less gas than we he left it. My dad still didn’t skip a point of fairness and consideration. So I was taught that day not only how to get a good friend, but also how to keep one.”


Friends are people in our lives we choose to build, grow, and trust. Charlie Munger has a famous quote: “to get what you want, you have to deserve it.” It’s fascinating the idea propagates into relationships. If you borrowed your best friend’s truck today, would you fill it up before returning it? It’s like paying for dinner even when you know your friend can afford it. Paying isn’t about money, it’s about the gesture to show your friends that you care. One of my friends once drove from Miami to see me near Ft. Lauderdale, in a rental car, when we were vacationing in FLA at the same time. That is what friendship represents to me. A friend is someone you call late at night with something on your mind, who wakes up yawning, half asleep, and listens to you because you need them to. People, you can be honest and real with. Friendship should be a relationship of two people building each other up to grow into stronger people. Like I’ve said before, it is the people in your life that make your life worth living!

The toughest operand in the friendship equation is finding that other operand. The world has 6 billion people, finding people organically that bring positive vibes in your life can be tough. I guess reflecting on today (instead of doing some of the tasks on my to-do list), I realized just how important it is to be grateful for the great friends and family in your life. I appreciate each and every one of them.

** If you find friends that will fill up that gas tank, keep them in your life!**