Never forget to validate your tickets!
Here’s a dramatic story…I’m in Florence with Maggie, my 13-year-old (at the time) granddaughter, and I want to show her Fiesole, which is a little town outside of Florence, and the way to get there is to take two buses. We buy the tickets, we get on the first bus then we get off to transfer to the next bus, and the transit officer wants to see the tickets. Of course, we pull out our tickets, and he tells us that we had forgotten to validate. He said, “You did not validate.” This is all in Italian, by the way, and it was loud Italian. I said, “Oh, so sorry,” and go to validate, to which he responds, “No, no, no, no, you can’t validate it now. I must see your passports” I say, “No, I’m going to validate the ticket.” He then says, “I’m going to write you a fine for $500 euro.” Loud and emphatically I say “I’m sorry I didn’t validate the ticket!”
Now he’s really making a scene. We get off the bus and there’s a crowd forming, he’s really fussing and I’m really fussing back! Maggie’s eyes look like they’re going to pop out of her head. Meanwhile, I’m looking around and asking, “What am I supposed to do with this guy?” Everyone is just shaking their heads saying, “I don’t know.” Finally I say, “Okay, fine. Just take me to jail. I am not paying your fine. I’m not giving you my passport, so, take me away.” He fusses and is still ranting and raving in Italian. I grab Maggie by the wrist (I didn’t even take her by the hand) and said, “Come on Maggie, we’re leaving.”
I started to walk away saying, “Now honey do not turn around and look, just keep right on walking.” We walk, walk, walk, walk, turn the corner, walk, walk, turn the corner, walk, walk. We stayed away for about 20 minutes, returned to the bus stop, boarded the next bus, validated our ticket and went off to Fiesole. The whole time, Maggie was scared to death of what her grandmother was doing.
At the end of the day, I still had my passport. I did not pay the fine. Maggie and I went off to Fiesole, and we had a lovely time. However, ever since then I’ve always made sure to validate my bus ticket and rail ticket.
Annie Collins, FREEDOM TRAVEL, LLC