From her post at Harbor Heights gas station for the past 29 years, Pamela Kern has been one of Sag Harbor's fixtures.
But, on Saturday, Kern left her job at the Route 114 gas station, after a disagreement with her boss. Her son, Dale Kern, who worked as gas attendant in the evening, is also no longer employed there.
Word spread quickly through the small village, and, by Monday, her friends began to rally around her. A Facebook page, "Friends of Pamela Kern," launched to show "the Queen of 114" how much she's meant to them.
On the page, Judith Wyche wrote: "No Pam at Harbor Heights is WORSE than a world without Twinkies!! Every time I come back to Sag Harbor I love seeing her hard at work...especially in December in her Santa hat! She's the only gas attendant I ever made sure I tipped! She's a TRUE Sag Harbor treasure!"
Tara Woodruff posted, "I am sure I won't be going to HH any more. It will not even be close to the same without Pam."
Reached at her Sag Harbor home on Monday morning, Kern said she was too upset for an interview, but said she was "broken-hearted" to no longer be at the gas station, where she was the gas station manager. "I thought I did the best job I could do. I thought I gave it 101 percent," she said amid tears.
Alluding to the argument she had with the management, she said, "I feel that I’m a bigger person than being treated the way I was treated Saturday morning . . . I've worked too hard, too long here to be treated like that."
Greg Miller, who leases the property, declined to comment other than to say that Kern walked out. "She had a job," he said.
Kern said her son was fired, but that she's the one who had to break the news, after her boss made the decision, because technically she was in charge of her son's position. She said her decision to leave was not directly related to her son's firing, but declined to get into details.
In May, she would have been working there for 30 years.
"I'm going to miss everybody. I hope I see everybody around, but there were a lot of people I just saw there," Kern said. She said she didn't know what she would do next.
Even if you didn't know her name, you knew Kern and her thick blond tresses by sight. She'd wave to cars she recognized as they travelled on the Sag Harbor to East Hampton thoroughfare. She was known to dress festively for the holidays — even donning a bunny's suit.
Kern grew up in Sag Harbor. Her father was on the village board for 25 years, and she also was in public office, serving on the Sag Harbor School Board.
The station owner, John Leonard, has an application pending to expand the service station to include a convenience store.
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