I walk to work in around 20 minutes. If I'm running late, as I was this morning, I jump on the tram if it's right outside the door waiting at the lights. This way I shave off around 5-10 minutes. I don't often catch the tram as I have to fork over $3.20 for a 10-minute trip: such is the way the public transportation system in Melbourne works – there are no fares geared for city residents to just get around the small city grid. There is a single trip ticket laughably named the City Saver for $2.40 but you can only board one tram for a single trip, and only a few blocks at that. I need two trams for two streets to get to work - the damn tram doesn't bend around the corner.
The $3.20 ticket is valid for 2 hours so, I usually pop the ticket onto the ticketing machine on the tram before I leave for someone else to pick it up and use for the remaining 1 hour and 50 minutes that has already been paid for. Waste not want not.
This morning, a couple of plain-clothes Metlink officers on board the tram checked passengers for tickets. One gentleman checked mine. Fine, ticket went back into the pocket. 5 minutes later, as the tram approached my stop, I headed to the door and around 8 metres before the tram stop, I popped the ticket onto the machine. The second ticket officer who was standing behind me, snatched it off the machine and the following ensued:
Flea: "Where's your ticket?"
Me: "You saw me put it there. Your colleague (I gestured to the gentleman who was now seated around 1 metre away and was watching the incident unfold) checked my ticket around 5 minutes ago. I'm getting off the tram and since the ticket is still valid and I don't need it, I'm leaving it on the machine for someone else to use."
Flea: You can't leave your ticket on the tram. Where's your ticket?
Me: Are you serious?
Flea: See now you don't have a ticket.
Me: It's in your hand.
Flea: See you could get into trouble.
Me: There are plenty of witnesses. I could easily challenge this.
Flea: Sure you could challenge it but you'd still be in trouble.
Me: Naaaaasty! *while wagging my finger at him*
By this time, the tram had rolled up to the stop and I had to jump off since I was late for a meeting, otherwise I would have gladly stayed on board to see how far he would have gone with his cheap-bastard-bullying.
It would be nice if karma really does exist. That flea is definitely a candidate for sprouting something where the sun don't shine.