- Associated Press - Saturday, October 10, 2015

MOUNT PLEASANT, Iowa (AP) - Oct. 4, 1970, started as a normal day for Bob Derr, who was working as an attendant at Mount Pleasant Bentler’s 66 station.

He was catering to cars as they came through and initially took little notice when a car with three women pulled up and one of the women headed for the bathroom. He continued working as normal until he realized the woman had been in the bathroom for a long time.

“I just kept thinking, ‘Gee, she’s been in there a long time,’” Derr told The Hawk Eye (https://bit.ly/1jdJHhe ).

After about a half hour, Derr went to go check on the woman and found her in labor in the bathroom.

Derr called an ambulance, police and the gas station’s owner, Tony Bentler.

The baby was born in the gas station before the ambulance was there.

The new mother and child were then transported to Henry County Memorial Hospital where physician Harold “Pete” Rankin checked the health of the new mom and baby.

“I always wondered what the child was up to all the time,” Derr said.

He got his answer Sept. 22, when Richard Hand of Burlington came to visit Derr, Bentler and Rankin to thank them for taking care of his mother during her delivery.

“She used to always say after she passed (the station) that I (should) go and thank the people who helped with my delivery,” Hand said.

Hand’s unusual birth made local newspapers, and Hand’s mom had a copy of the articles tucked away in a scrapbook. After his mother died in January, Hand decided to fulfill his mother’s wish and thank the attendants.

“I was so nervous when I made the phone call (setting up a meeting),” Hand said. “I called once, then hung up and tried to call again,” Hand said.

Hand’s birth will forever stick in the three men’s minds.

“I’ve had deliveries in elevators, hallways and in cars, but he’s the only delivery I was a part of that happened at a gas station,” Rankin said.

Bentler said Hand’s mom was lucky it was his bathroom she gave birth in.

“We had the cleanest bathrooms in Iowa,” Bentler said.

Hand said his birth also was a surprised to his aunts, who were waiting in the car while their sister was in labor at the gas station.

“When my aunt Vicky got to check on my mom, she was shocked to hear a baby crying. No one, not even my mom, knew she was pregnant,” Hand said.

As the four remembered the day, they exchanged photos of the gas station and of Hand as an infant.

“I’ve never actually seen what the gas station looked like until now,” Hand said.

The place of Hand’s birth is now a used furniture store in Mount Pleasant, but the story of the baby born in a gas station won’t be forgotten.

___

Information from: The Hawk Eye, https://www.thehawkeye.com


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