An Honest Deception

, , , | Right | July 20, 2020

I work at an institution for further adult education and we offer a very broad variety of courses and workshops, from IT-classes to cooking, music, languages, college degrees, etc. There are also some federal support programs in place that help pay the tuition for people who live on low-income or have none at all.

As a part of this, the responsible federal office also offers to pay for the driving expenses if a student lives more than a certain amount of kilometers from the school. If that is the case, the student can apply for this additional support and, once it is granted, they need to provide us proof of their travel expenses — i.e. expired bus or train tickets. We then relay this information to the federal office, who in turn refunds the money.

A man has just come to my office to give us his tickets. Usually, our customers and students are very polite and pleasant to deal with, but occasionally, we get an odd one like this.

Man: “Hello, I want to give you my bus ticket.” *Hands it over*

Me: “Thank you very much. Can I see your ID, please?”

Man: “Sure, here.”

Me: “Thank you.”

I write down his name on the receipt form we have for these cases and then proceed to check the ticket. I notice something.

Me: “Um, sir, it seems to me that someone has tampered with this ticket. There is something written over the print with a black marker. Do you know what that is about?”

Man: “Huh? No, I did not do that. I don’t know.”

I show him the ticket.

Me: “Are you sure? Here, look. The date of expiry of this ticket has clearly been written over, apparently in an attempt to change it to a later date.”

He looks as if he only notices it now.

Man: “Oh, yes, that was me!”

Me: “Uh, you know you are not supposed to do that, right? It is not allowed to alter your bus tickets like this, and you could get fined for doing it.”

Man: *Apparently still oblivious* “But no one ever said anything about it before.”

Me: “You are still not allowed to tamper with your tickets! Plus, if the federal office learns about this, you might be in real trouble because they might think you are trying to deceive them or commit fraud.”

Man: “Oh, but I don’t want to deceive the federal office. I only wanted to deceive the bus driver.”

He smiles and leaves.

Me: “Did… he really just tell me that?!”

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