Keeping Them Safe From Themselves

, , , , , , | Legal | September 26, 2019

I work as a train conductor, doing ticket rounds on a late-evening train. Out of the corner of my eye, I see two teenagers, maybe 15 or 16, switch seats. That’s okay, and I think no more of that. A few minutes later, I come to their compartment in order to check their tickets; there are six teenagers in total, and every single one of them is pretending to be asleep. People try this every now and then, but this is the first time they try it specifically after making eye contact. I just kind of chuckle and go “nice try,” loud enough for the rest of the compartment to hear. They feign ignorance and say they were trying to catch a bit of sleep. I also notice they’re carrying alcohol with them. They’re off to a bad start. I ask for the tickets. This is when I hear a myriad of excuses:

  • [Friend]’s mom has the tickets.
  • Nobody has a working phone on them.
  • When we get the battery charged, [Friend]’s mom doesn’t care and hangs up.
  • They actually went the wrong way first.

They finally drop the act and start pleading for a free ride, and even try to bribe me with 10€, to which I reply, “Next time you try to bribe someone, here’s a little heads up. Don’t do it in front of a dozen witnesses.” The other passengers are having a blast so far. As a last straw, the teens bring up the fact that they are, in fact, underage and I am technically in charge of keeping them safe. Here’s the thing: I have to be really careful now, because the law being what it is, I could be held accountable if I drop them off somewhere without supervision and something happens to them, as it is in the middle of the night and it’s quite cold outside.

Now, here comes the malicious compliance. I finally “relent” to letting them go as far as the next station where they can still buy tickets with that bit of cash they had, and continue to do my job. Now, of course, as I have to keep them safe, I naturally am worried about underage drinking on their part, as well. That stuff rots the brain and hinders development of these beautiful young children! So, I arrange for security and police to meet them at the same station.

Naturally, once they jump off the train — and one of them even says, “Man, we really managed to bulls*** that one!” — I direct the impressive amount of nothing-better-to-do-right-now security and police officers to the teenagers. I’ve never seen anyone get as pure of an “Oh, s***!” impression as those kids right then. Their drinks get confiscated and destroyed, and each of them gets shipped home to have a meeting with their guardians, police, and possibly even CPS if this is a recurring problem. Fines could be slapped, as well.

Moral(s) of the story: Be honest. And under no circumstance tell me to keep you safe, because I will keep you safe.

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