Story updated 9/29 – 10:56 p.m.
PLANO (CBSDFW.COM) – Support came pouring in Thursday for a Collin County businessman offering customers a break on the price of an oil by asking them to quote a Bible verse.
Charlie Whittington said a woman was waiting for him when he opened his Plano shop Thursday morning, just to offer support.
He took phone calls from people in Oklahoma, Alabama and Florida, all from people supporting his discount idea.
“I really believe if you talk more positive stuff you get more positive things out of it,” he said Thursday. “I want to inspire people to look where they can do more.”
The coupon offer created questions about discrimination from some customers.
Resident Marshall Wei, who had been to the Kwik Kar on Custer Road in Plano before, was happy to find the coupon hanging on his door last week.
Above the promised $19.99 price though, the coupon says customers must quote the New Testament verse John 3:16 to get the deal.
“I think maybe I forgot exactly what it is, and I needed to go look it up online,” Wei said
With the verse in hand, Wei drove to the store and pulled into the garage, but as he waited he started having second thoughts about the offer.
“Why should I be compelled to quote something I do not feel comfortable to quote?” he asked.
After a short discussion with a store manager about the verse, he declined to recite it, and ended up paying more than $46 for the service, more than twice what he expected.
“I’m paying you,” Wei said. “Why can’t you treat me like others?”
Store owner Charlie Whittington is standing by what he asking customers to do for a deal. “If I’m standing for what I believe, so be it,” he said. “Bring it on.”
The verse is popular for containing the central beliefs of traditional Christianity:
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (NIV)
Whittington said he did it as a conversation starter in an effort to talk to people about what he believes.
“It’s one thing about America,” he said. “You can go and do what you want. I’m not making you do anything and I’m tired of people making me do something.”
Whittington may be right that he can make the offer if he wants to. The state attorney general had no comment on the issue and couldn’t point out any laws the coupon is breaking.
Dallas attorney Andy Siegel, who has handled discrimination and denial of service cases before, said with no connection to federal funds, or federal highways, the discount appears to be within the law, though he said the conversation could have been started a different way.
“The study of the Bible has many rewards. I’m not sure that God intended a lube discount to be among its many riches.”