Yesterday I was on the Queen Street replacement bus. If you know anything about the TTC, you no longer have to show your pass when you board a streetcar, however you are required to do so on a bus. We stopped at Sherbourne and a black man with dreads got on. I could tell he was a little out of it but he stood at the door shuffling in his pocket. He asked the driver if he had change for a $5 bill. I was super interested in this because i could tell he probably didn’t have a $5. I guess the bus driver realized this also because he said, “You know I don’t make change AND where is this $5 bill”??? A woman who just stepped on asked if she could swipe her presto card but the driver said you couldn’t swipe twice in a row. The man started to walk down the centre with his hand out trying to collect change for his fare. A kind man gave him a token. He then turned and tried to sell this token to the kind woman who had offered to swipe presto. She was aghast and said, “HE GAVE YOU A TOKEN, GO PAY”. The man returned to the front and paid. He then asked a few people for change before sitting beside me.
“Can you spare change”? he asked…
Now, I almost always give change but I felt annoyed with this man and said no. A minute later I said, ‘ this was extremely impractical of you…. had you waited a minute for the streetcar, you could have entered without paying a fair…you just wasted someone’s generosity…. this doesn’t make sense to me”. He smiled shyly and nodded in agreement. “No, really” I continued… “what was your thought process…. you just gave $3 to the TTC, that you need for yourself – how could you have not waited for a streetcar”???
He just smiled and then I started to feel guilty.
“Ok… listen, I’ll give you some change, but there is a cost to you”.
He looked perplexed.
“You need to explain your thought process. I need to understand for my own curiousity why you wouldn’t have waited a minute for the streetcar – I just need to know”.
We sat silently for a few minutes and then he said….
“I was cold”.
I handed him a $5 and got off.