Making A Graceful Exit… Eventually

, , , , , | Hopeless | August 5, 2019

(I’m the bad customer in this story. I drop my fare card after passing through the subway gantry, so when I reach my destination, I have to talk to the station staff. I pay my fare in cash on the spot so he lets me through, and they call to my entry station to ask them if they have found my card. Luckily, it was in a distinctive cardholder, and they are able to find it. That evening on the way home, I stop at the office to collect my card. The next morning, I have a bout of asthma, so I’m running slightly late. When I reach the station, I try to use the card, only to be told “exit error.” The card was used for an entry yesterday, but not an exit. I have to talk to the station staff.)

Me: “I dropped my card yesterday after tapping in.”

Staff: “Yes, it’s showing that you tapped in, but did not exit.”

Me: “Yes, but I collected my card from the office here yesterday evening. They knew that I’d dropped it; why didn’t they reset the card?”

Staff: “Oh, perhaps it was a different staff member who found the card.”

Me: “But when I collected the card in the evening, I had to explain the situation again. The staff member who passed me the card could have done it then.”

Staff: “Okay, I’ll do it now.”

Me: “I’m going to be late.” *panicking by this point*

Staff: *scanning the card* “Okay, so when you reached [Destination] did you pay your fare?”

Me: “Yes, I paid the fare in cash. You can call the station and check with [Staff] who helped me yesterday.”

Staff: “Do you have the receipt?”

(I try to search but I can’t find it.)

Me: “I don’t think I kept it.” *panicking*

Staff: “Okay, but I know there’s no way you could have gotten out unless you’d paid. Since you’re standing here and not stuck at [Destination], I’ll reset your card and refund the charge on your card.”

Me: *relieved* “Thank you!” *realises that he is trying to make me feel better with a joke*

(I get to work on time, thanks to his quick thinking. Later, I find the receipt, which fell to the bottom of my bag. On the way back a few days later, I see him on the night shift. I stop by to apologise.)

Me: “Hi. Do you remember me? I was the girl who dropped my card and was not able to tap in the next day. I found my receipt, and I wasn’t late to work, thanks to your able assistance.”

Staff: “That’s great. Yeah, I remember you. I’m glad you made it to work on time.”

Me: “I’m sorry if I was impatient the other day. It wasn’t that I was upset with you. I had a bout of asthma before that, so I was running late for work. I would usually be there in plenty of time.”

Staff: “No wonder you were in such a panic. I could see you were just frazzled and in a big rush. I didn’t take it personally. But it’s nice you stopped by to say thanks. I appreciate it.” 

(He looked quite happy. Thank you, friendly station guy, for helping me, keeping your cool when I was upset, and trying to make me feel better with a joke!)

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Bigotry Is Ugly In Any Language

, , , , , , , | Friendly | December 11, 2018

My friend and I are taking the subway. We are both Mexicans and both look like Mexicans, but my friend asked me to talk to him exclusively in Mandarin, in which I’m fluent, so that he can practise.

A middle-aged woman gets on the subway and stares, giving us a strange look. I think nothing about it since it’s not common to hear a conversation in Mandarin in a Mexico City subway.

Suddenly, she suddenly says, quite loudly, in Spanish, “Damn Chinese. They’re everywhere! They come, open a restaurant, exploit their Mexican employees, and take all of our money back to China; they don’t even try to learn Spanish.” Then she goes, “Ching chang chun li,” trying to imitate Chinese.

My friend and I begin to laugh, which only makes her get angrier and turn blood red.

I respond to her, in Spanish, “Ma’am, we’re both Mexicans, and most surely can speak better Spanish than you do!”

A few people on the subway laugh really hard. The woman turns an even brighter shade of red, and suddenly remembers she has to get off at the next station.

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Weed Now Legal In Canada: Engineering Some Wonderful Moments

, , , , , | Friendly | November 9, 2018

(Weed in Canada has recently been legalized. Riding the train home after a lunch date, I see this from across the aisle.)

Guy #1: *produces a mini-bong from one of his pockets and turns to his friend* “Give me my engineering degree!”

Guy #2: *instantly whips out and hands over a plastic straw*

Guy #1: *sticks it on the mini-bong, beams proudly at this engineering achievement, and smiles at his friend* “Thanks!”

(They missed their stop.)

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Time To Say Bye Bye Baby

| Friendly | February 3, 2016

(I’m in an elevator leaving a subway station. Entering with me are an old man and a young woman, the latter with a baby stroller filled with shopping bags.)

Old Man: *leaning above the stroller* “Hey, sweet baby, look at me!”

Young Woman: *with suppressed laughter* “There is no baby.”

Old Man: *still face to face with nothing but plastic bags* “Why won’t he talk to me? He’s so quiet!”

Young Woman: *no longer amused* “That’s my shopping.”

(We exit the elevator, the old man still doesn’t want to let go of the imaginary baby and sets out to follow her. I start walking into the other direction until his tone changes and my conscience kicks in.)

Old Man: *angrily* “Did I scare him? Why doesn’t he answer when I talk to him?”

Me: *calling back towards them* “Hey, [Some Random Female Name], where are you going? Come on, hurry, our exit is over there.”

(She was very relieved to take the long way to the original destination.)

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No Stopping Him Now

| Friendly | June 11, 2015

(A young boy is misbehaving on the subway train. To try to calm him, his mother is reading him the list of stops.)

Mother: “So we have Haymarket, then we have State, then Downtown Crossing, then Chinatown—”

(At the mention of this last stop, the boy’s eyes go wide.)

Boy: *excitedly* “You mean this train goes all the way to CHINA?”

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