John's Full Service 2316 Independence Avenue, 816-231-7913
The gas station at Independence Avenue and Olive Street consists of eight faded gas pumps next to a sloped-roof storefront on a bleached-concrete lot. On any given day, John (who wouldn't give us his last name), the sixtysomething, platinum-mustached shop owner, totters around the pumps, poking his head in car windows to ask drivers just what 'n the hell they want. John pumps gas, washes windshields, changes oil and even delivers packs of cigarettes straight to the driver's-side window. He's manned the outpost for the past twenty years, offering cusses as greetings and dirty jokes in place of chivalry, and uncapping beer bottles to drink away the slow summer afternoons. "They'll miss me when I'm gone," John says. He accepts tips. Dirty jokes are on the house.