Today I went to Publix to buy milk. I took the Red Line trolley to the end of the line. I got lunch at the Subway next to the store, bought my low-fat milk and waited 10 minutes for the trolley back to my apartment.
“STOP,” the driver barked opening the door, but refusing to let me on. “Why you always pay just quarter? I ask(ed) you a question. Why do YOU pay a quarter? That rate is for people who WORK along route. You no work. You have no work, do you? You ‘work’ here? Fine, show me an ID from your job?”
Wait, what? I thought it was a “resident” rate, but I could be misinformed.
“Huh,” he taunted before I could answer him. “Ha, you don’t have one. You are not ‘special,’ unless you are a senior or in a wheelchair – which are neither – you pay this much,” taps signs on farebox.
Right, because only people in wheelchairs are “disabled?” Gotcha.
“You see that,” he said condescendingly. “Do you? THAT is how much you pay. I am not a fool. I have job, and I am doing it. Now, you pay $2, or you do not get on. Period.”
I remember my Nextbus app saying “6 minutes” and then “39 minutes.” It probably wouldn’t have been THAT long as I was at the second stop on the route… but I didn’t feel like chancing it, so I pulled out 2 $1 bills (out of the $5 that were in my wallet) so the hero driver wins the day.
But victory wasn’t enough for him. He has to lecture me about how I can’t be mad at him for “doing (his) job” when I don’t have one of my own (because I was holding a SHOPPING bag, and “shopping is no working”). Finally, I just tune out his prattle and pretend this is all his being a jerk… and realizing I could get a “disability card” for Autism in Florida with a valid assessment (which I don’t have at the moment) and a consultation with an affiliated psychologist.
Three stops later, the driver stops for a young black man in a grey T-shirt with “DKNY” written on it with baggy white sweatpants. He drops a quarter in the farebox and heads to a seat across from me without a word from the driver.
See, I thought with a passing smile, I am “special” after all…