‘Sorry bud. We don’t take notes.’

bus
I called into my usual greasy spoon for my morning cup of coffee, using my last 2 euro coin to pay for it. Wishing the nice woman behind the counter a good weekend I exited the shop. Before slumping at the bus stop outside to await the vehicle’s arrival. It would whisk me off to a black and white, monochrome land – the reverse of the Wizard of Oz. I was going to wake up in the bleak, grey world of Kansas – also known as the industrial wastelands.

I trundled on to the bus and reached into my pocket for my LEAP card – that convenient travel pass that allows you use public transport anywhere in the country for a price that is allegedly 25% cheaper than paying cash.

I fumbled about for it. Nowhere was it to be found. Not in my jacket, trousers, wallet or stylish manbag. Little drops of scalding coffee spilled on my hand. I jumped about in front of the driver like a distressed Chihuahua.

Never fear I thought to myself. I clearly left the card in the trousers I wore to work yesterday. I will simply pay cash today.

However my last two euro coin had been exchanged for the heated  beverage now resting in the luggage rack.

With a slight swagger I withdrew a ten euro note from my pocket. The entire bottom deck of the bus was staring at me. I was not embarrassed – I was a man of means, with a banknote in my hand.

I knew that drivers don’t give cash change for tickets – instead they give you a receipt which you have to take to Dublin Bus headquarters on the main street of our nation’s capital to exchange for cash. That is what I would do today.

‘How much to the wastelands, my good man?’ I asked.

‘€2.70’ came the reply.

I proffered the banknote, feeling like a devil-may-care Texas playboy

‘Sorry bud. We don’t take notes.’

‘Can’t you give me one of those receipts, that I can exchange for cash change, please?’

‘Sorry bud. We don’t take notes.’

I felt distraught.

‘What can I do?’ I asked.

‘Ask if anyone has change.’

‘Good morning fellow citizens’ I announced to the morose bunch of people sitting in front of me, staring in  secret amusement at my predicament. It’s happened to us all at one point. ‘Does anyone have change for a tenner?’

No-one moved. Their mouths lolled open slightly.

I turned back to the driver.

‘No one has change.’ I was almost pleading by this point.

If I had to leave the bus, I’d have to wait fifteen minutes for the next one. Meaning my weekend would start fifteen minute later that evening. That was simply unacceptable as an option.

‘Bring change in future’ he grunted at me.

I slunk to the back of the bus, not having paid, while studiously avoiding eye contact with my fellow passengers.

I felt a slight disappointment in them. I thought we had been all in this together.

 

 

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