Businessman Willie Wilson's 2nd Chicago gas giveaway smoother but not without hiccups

Willie Wilson free gas locations below

Thursday, March 24, 2022
2nd Chicago free gas giveaway smoother but not without hiccups
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Willie Wilson's second massive gas giveaway went smoother than the first, but there were still some hiccups and complications along the way.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Chicago drivers looking for another opportunity to fill up their tanks had it Thursday, thanks to businessman Willie Wilson.

After Wilson's first gas giveaway last week created gridlock across the city, a larger one took place Thursday.

This time, his team intended for their second event to operate more like carefully choreographed charitable chaos.

"I had no idea that it was going to be this big," Wilson said, "but when it happened, it just exploded. And I was surprised like everybody else."

And it seemed smoother than last week's.

Cars were supposed to begin lining up at 7 a.m. at 21 locations in Chicago, but not before, the Office of Emergency Management and Communications said Tuesday.

WATCH: Hundreds of cars line up for Chicago-area free gas giveaway

However, on the North Side, some cars had already begun to line up by 4:30 a.m., and the line only grew as the morning went on.

Some arguments could be seen breaking out before the gas had begun to flow.

"There's people down the block that have been here for a couple of hours, and they come and they cut in -- like it's not fair, so I don't know what's going on," Francisco J. Guevara said. "I'm amazed there's not a fight breaking out yet."

Each car could receive up to $50 in free gas, and each station said it would take in up to 400 cars. Stickers were to be handed out to indicate position in line.

"This time, the volunteers are going to hand out numbers from 1-400," said Khalil Abdullah, the owner of multiple participating gas stations.

Chicago police officers were set up throughout the city to help with traffic control.

"Lineup will begin at 6 a.m. No one will be allowed to enter the lines prior to 6 a.m. If you are there earlier, you will be asked to leave," Cicero Police Chief Jerry Chlada said.

By 7 a.m. in Cicero, hundreds of cars were lined up.

"I was here since 2:50 going around trying to find my spot and thank God I made it," said Norma Padilla, who was first in line in Cicero.

While waiting in line for the free gas, Miss Young ran out.

"Ran around, ran around, beating the lines, and we ran out of gas," Young said.

So, police officers helped push her right to the pump. When Wilson heard about her situation, he offered her more gas and even gave her some cash.

It's his way of giving back to a community he loves so much.

"It's a need out here; people need money to get to work to get to the daycare center, you know, people need money to buy food, you know, somebody has to do something," Wilson said.

Wilson even helped volunteers pump gas.

But last week's giveaway of $200,000 in free gas caused massive gridlock in the city.

Thursday's giveaway also included several locations in the suburbs -- 48 locations in all.

From Cicero to Oak Lawn and areas all across Chicago, the lines were massive, and things didn't go smoothly everywhere.

The pumps broke at one location. Some drivers realized how hectic the last giveaway was and made sure to arrive early and wait.

"Some people here from 5 o'clock, that's why I feel bad, and a lot of people no gas," said gas station owner Yousef Shiek. "I just give the lady $15 from my own pocket to go across the street."

"I had my son actually behind me, and he was not a trooper like me so he left, went home, and I'm here," Sally Sarpelli said.

Donald McGill attempted to get gas last week, and waited for hours.

"We were right at the gas station; we didn't even get gas," he said.

But he did make it Thursday, just in time.

"Right now I'm just happy I'm here; I'm about to run out of gas!" McGill laughed.

Park Forest police said they would be directing cars through a residential area to avoid backup on the major thoroughfare.

"We found out about it Saturday afternoon so it's been kind of a rush to get things prepared," said Deputy Chief Paul Winfrey with the Park Forest Police Department. "It took the better part of the day to try and figure out the best route that will cause the least amount of impact to residents and businesses."

The town of Cicero and the Chicago Police Department were also working with Wilson to mitigate traffic issues this time and ensure public safety.

"Last week, we really weren't given much notification. This time around, we had a few days extra to plan for this," said Rich Guidice, executive director for the Office of Emergency Management and Communication.

"All side streets south of Cermak Road, between Lombard and Laramie Ave., will be closed beginning at about 3 a.m.," Chief Chlada added.

A spokesman for Wilson said they had "a few" suburban locations decide not to participate Thursday "for their own reasons."

Those locations include Alsip and the Thorntons in Bellwood and Dixmoor.

The Posen Police Department posted to its Facebook page saying the gas giveaway is canceled there, as well.

SEE MORE: Chicago free gas giveaway: Businessman Willie Wilson offering $200K in fill-ups across city

With prices well above $4 a gallon in some places, Thursday's giveaway was something of a lifeline.

"I just got to give back; you know it's hard times right now. Everybody is going through something, so it makes me feel good," volunteer Lenora Williams said.

The stations also lowered their prices, so more people could partake, Wilson said.

He added that if prices stay high, he'd be willing to do another giveaway.

WATCH: Willie Wilson talks about Chicago free gas giveaway

Participating Gas Stations: Free Gas Starting at 7 a.m. Thursday until $1 million is exhausted


Shell at 6129 W. North Ave., Chicago

South Austin

Citgo at 5103 W. Madison Ave., Chicago

Citgo at 5150 W. Chicago Ave., Chicago

Rogers Park

Amoco at 7201 N. Clark St., Chicago

Gage Park

Shell at 5230 S. Western Ave., Chicago

Washington Park

Super Save at 48 E. Garfield Blvd., Chicago

Humboldt Park

Citgo at 1345 N. Pulaski Road, Chicago


9901 S. Halsted St., Chicago

East Garfield Park

Marathon at 340 S. Sacramento Blvd., Chicago


Super Save at 11100 S. State St. Chicago

9452 S. Cottage Grove Ave., Chicago

Park Manor

Citgo at 6700 S. Cottage Grove Ave., Chicago

Grand Crossing

BP at 7600 S. Chicago Ave., Chicago

North Center

BP at 3955 N. Western Ave., Chicago


Amoco at 4401 W. Roosevelt Road, Chicago

The Gap

BP at 342 E. 35th St., Chicago

Garfield Ridge

Shell at 6434 W. Archer Ave., Chicago

West Elsdon

BP at 4401 W. 55th St., Chicago


Clark at 1201 W. 87th St., Chicago


Clark at 4300 S. Union Ave., Chicago

Cook County

North Suburbs

Mobil at 1950 Green Bay Road, Evanston

Phillips at 9340 Irving Park Road, Schiller Park

Mobil at 9401 W. Higgins Road, Rosemont

Shell at 2474 Thatcher Ave., River Grove

Shell at 4555 N. Nagle Ave., Harwood Heights

West Suburbs

Super Save at 101 W. Madison St., Maywood

BP at 11201 W. Cermak Road, Westchester

BP at 5201 W. Cermak Road, Cicero

Amoco at 1700 N. Mannheim Road, Stone Park

Mobil at 1101 N. La Grange Road, La Grange Park

BP at 17th Avenue and Bataan Drive, Broadview

Shell at 3901 S. Harlem Ave., Stickney

BP at 1309 N. 25th Ave., Melrose Park

BP at 1600 Oak Park Ave., Berwyn

South Suburbs

Falcon at 18280 S. Pulaski Road, Country Club Hills

Citgo at 13801 S. Halsted St., Riverdale

Exxon Mobil at 1421 E. Sibley Blvd., Dolton

BP at 15857 S. Halsted St., Harvey

Citgo at 15221 S. Halsted St., Phoenix

BP at 5548 W. 159th St., Oak Forest

Citgo at 11901 S. Marshfield Ave., Calumet Park

Shell at 385 Sauk Trail, Park Forest

BP at 17450 Kedzie Ave., Hazel Crest

GoLo at 4005 W. 135th St., Robbins

Falcon at 8702 S. Roberts Road, Hickory Hills

Shell at 2401 Lincoln Highway, Olympia Fields

Mobil at 431 W. Lincoln Highway, Chicago Heights

BP at 11040 S. Pulaski Road, Oak Lawn