So, for those of you who don't know, Seattle finally finished the light rail and now it goes all the way from downtown to the airport. Back in February, I decided to take it for the first time to save money and not have to inconvenience any of my friends in having to drive me. I was told a ticket costs $2.50. So, I went down to the tunnel and bought my ticket from the computer. It only cost $1.75, and I thought, well maybe the other person I talked to got a round trip ticket. I got on and was about 20 minutes out of town when the security guards came around checking tickets. I gladly handed them mine, and they were like, "Are you going to the airport?" (Yes, captain obvious, that is why I have my suitcase, I thought to myself.) But, I smiled and simply said, "Yes." He handed the ticket to the other security guard and asked for my license. I handed it to him, thinking, this is weird, but maybe my name is on the ticket, and he needs to know I bought it? (Dumb, I know, but I still had no idea I purchased the wrong fare.) The security guard he handed the ticket to, was like, "This is not good, you only got a ticket to go to the stop after where you purchased the ticket!" I was like, "Really? I'm so sorry, I had no idea!" They were like, "We have to escort you off at the next stop and you will need to buy a new ticket."
So, like a criminal, they escorted me off the train, and hovered over me as I bought my new ticket. For those of you who don't know me, I am a rule follower. I hate breaking the rules so much, I'm a little bit of an extremist about it. So, as I am buying my new ticket I start to cry because I am just so overwhelmed by the situation, and I just did not want to be accused of trying to cheat the system. They told me I would be getting a ticket in the mail (when he had my license he had taken a picture of it.) Anyways, through tears, I said, "I just don't understand why I am going to get a ticket for making a mistake!" One of the security guards said, "Well, you can fight it in court!"
So... a few weeks passed and I got my ticket... for $124!!! 124 dollars for a 75 cent mistake! Unreal. So, I contested it and went to court yesterday. My dad is a lawyer, I work at a law firm, but aside from youth court back in high school and one take your daughter to work day, I have never been in a courtroom and I have never had to defend myself in front of a judge! Needless to say I was a bit terrified. But I got there and was called second. When someone else was called first, I was like, oh good, I can see how this goes before my turn. She walked up, and the judge said the cop left no notes, case dismissed. Ahhh! It was over. No example. Then, he called me. I walked up, silently praying mine would be dismissed too. Unfortunately, my security guards had left plenty of notes. I sat there in silence as he read what had happened.
My dad had said, make sure you say your honor and explain why you are there first. He forgot to mention I would have to raise my right hand and pledge to tell the truth. And of course after he read the notes, the first thing the judge said was, "Please raise your right hand." Okay, so I am awful at left and right (ask ANYONE who knows me!) So, I paused and in my head was like, I can't discreetly do the "L's"! After what felt like forever, I was like, pick one! So, I was like okay right hand, hmmm... you use it to write, oh thank you mom for teaching me that! :) So, I raised my right hand. By this point, I think the judge was starting to think I was either slow, deaf, or didn't speak english. Then he said, "Do you promise to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth?" Oh no, I thought, I had not practiced a response to the question either. What do I say? "Yes?" or "I will." I told you I was scared! I panicked and said, "I do?" Yes, question mark. As if asking as I'm saying it, "Is that how I'm supposed to respond?" I don't know why I said it like I was getting married! And, it probably sounded like I was saying it as in "I'll try," since I said it like a question. But oh well, that was over.
So, I said "Good morning, your honor." Oh good, I thought... remembered that line. I kind of explained what happened. I was so nervous. I told him I am not denying I made a mistake, but it was not intentional, and I just felt like $124 was a little steep for a $.75 mistake. He said, well you won't have to pay $124, you will have to pay $50, and this will not appear on your record." Pretty sure my dumb ass said, "I'll take it," and he banged his gavel. Then he said, "The clerk will help you out." I stood up, knowing it was over, but didn't know where to go! I was scared to say anything more, so I whispered, "Umm, where do I go?" He pointed to the lady next to him, and said, "The clerk will assist you." I said, "Okay, thanks!" So embarrassing. And if he sounded mean, he really wasn't. Just direct and too the point, but he was kind.
So, yes, $50 is a bit much for such a small mistake, but at least it's over. And, it was less than what it was originally! Oh, man, I never want to go to court again. I'm pretty sure I'll never have to. So, if you ever need a ride to or from the airport call me, and I will be there for ya! Anything I can do to save someone from some unneeded drama! :) Or, if any of you decide to ride the light rail, make sure to read all the instructions carefully. It is not worth it to make a mistake! :)
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